Bengaluru, NFAPost: BioSolar Inc., a developer of clean energy technologies, today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary NewHydrogen, Inc. is exploring more major cost-reduction opportunities in hydrogen electrolyzers beyond the scope of its current sponsored research project at the University of California Los Angeles (“UCLA”).
A mature technology that has existed for over 200 years, electrolyzers are systems typically installed behind a solar farm or wind farm that use renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, thereby producing Green Hydrogen.
The main challenge and reason that humans do not utilize Green Hydrogen everywhere today is their high cost. The catalysts that enable the critical water-splitting reactions are currently made from platinum and iridium, two very expensive precious metals that account for nearly 50% of the cost of the electrolyzer.
The current sponsored research program at UCLA is focused on replacing iridium, a precious metal found only in asteroids, with earth abundant materials that meet or exceed the performance characteristics of iridium. The Company has also identified additional components and materials in electrolyzers where meaningful cost reductions can be performed.
While iridium is the oxygen catalyst, its counterpart on the hydrogen side is platinum, a material so rare that only 200 tons are mined every year. Another critical component is the porous transport layer (“PTL”), aka gas diffusion layer, which facilitates the movement of water and gases to and from the catalyst surfaces.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the catalysts, membrane and PTL assembly account for more than 50%-75% of the capital cost of the electrolyzer stack.
“We selected UCLA because they are one of the top research institutions in the country with a deep pool of talented researchers and state of the art facilities and because they already have a high-performance catalyst candidate from a different program that positions us well for growth,” said Dr. David Lee, CEO of BioSolar.
“The UCLA team has extensive experience in nanoscale materials and nanotechnology to impact a wide range of technologies including materials synthesis, catalysis, fuel cells, biomedical and devices applications. With a strong research foundation in place, we are excited for what comes next.”
Dr. Lee continued, “We intend to aggressively expand our research programs to reduce the cost of these major material components to significantly reduce the cost of green hydrogen production.
“Whether doing more at UCLA, or building out our in-house team, partnering with other top research institutions, we are fully committed to a future powered by Green Hydrogen. Goldman Sachs calls Green Hydrogen a ‘once in a lifetime’ $12 trillion market opportunity. We are excited to be a part of this revolution to establish a more sustainable future,” he added.