Update on the operational activities in Smoltek Innovation
Smoltek Innovation's efforts to develop a unique and high-performance nanofiber-based cell material for electrolyzers used in fossil-free hydrogen production continues to develop according to plan. Dialogues are now ongoing with the aim of signing a collaboration agreement with a major manufacturer for the continued development of the concept.
“We are noticing a strong interest in our unique cell material from global manufacturers as well as relevant researchers, which is positive for our opportunities to build a well-functioning ecosystem around the concept. To maintain a strong momentum, we are now working to establish a collaboration for the development with a major international manufacturer, as well as to strengthen the Smoltek Innovation team, both within the company and through consultants and external researchers“,
says Ellinor Ehrnberg, President of Smoltek Innovation.
Since the update in May, Smoltek has continued to work on the pre-study which is aimed at developing a technical proof-of-concept for a cell material for electrolyzers based on the company's nanofiber technology. The pre-study is managed by Smoltek, and it is carried out in collaboration with several European research groups. Initially, the work was focused on ensuring patent protection for our innovations, but now the scope has been expanded to evaluate critical technical parameters and to assess the possible production cost. The pre-study has also been expanded to include various methods for corrosion protection, as Smoltek has shifted its focus to the anode side of the electrolyzer, where a low pH value provides an aggressive environment. The technical results and performance obtained so far have been positive, and the fibers produced in a laboratory environment have an appropriate shape when inspected under a scanning electron microscope.
Within the technical development, Smoltek Innovation are in the process of concluding the following near-term milestones:
Create a collaboration project with a large manufacturer of electrolyzers or components for electrolyzers for further development of the company's concept. Dialogues are currently ongoing with several global market- and technology-leading companies.
Proof-of-concept for the company's nanofiber-based cell material for electrolyzers.
When the above milestones have been reached, the technical development will be focused on optimizing the concept. In practical terms, this means first producing a small-scale demonstrator, and thereafter a full-scale prototype with the same size and characteristics in future large-scale production. This continued technical development is planned to be conducted in collaboration with a global manufacturer, as well as through continued work with European research groups. Preparations for upcoming research grant applications, both in Sweden and internationally, have already been initiated.
In parallel with the technical development on the product side, Smoltek Innovation will work with industrialization by developing a complete concept around large-scale production of the company's cell material. By starting the industrialization process at an early stage, Smoltek Innovation can obtain valuable information regarding technical parameters for production to take into consideration in the technical development, and vice versa.
A central part of the industrialization process will be to specify a production equipment for large-scale production of carbon nanofibers. Several potential suppliers of such machines have already been identified in collaboration with the group company Smoltek Semi. Compared with Smoltek Semi, however, Smoltek Innovation has less strict range for parameters such as the temperature during production, but nevertheless synergies are expected.
“Our development of a unique cell material for electrolyzers is still at an early stage, but we have already achieved significant progress within patent protection as well as technical development. We are pioneers when it comes to applying for patents for applications using nanofibers within energy conversion, which means that we have the potential to secure a broad and potentially very valuable patent portfolio. The market for electrolyzers alone is expected to grow significantly as the electrification of the world continues, and we also see further potential in areas such as fuel cells, batteries and various niche applications”,
Ellinor Ehrnberg concludes.
Smoltek is still in an early research phase, Proof of concept, to demonstrate the feasibility of the technology, but since the concept is so promising and the potential market is so large, the company wants to act quickly and is now looking for partners with whom they want to realize the new electrolyzer concept.
Image: Ellinor Ehrnberg, President of Smoltek Innovation