Toshiba and Toray Develop Iridium Oxide Nanosheet Technology
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New nanosheet reduces required iridium amount in PEM electrolysers to only one-tenth of original content, and is ready to be commercialized

Here’s an article posted in Nikkei Asia that talks about Japan’s Hydrogen revolution.

According to the article,

Top management consulting experts for Bio-energy, EV, Solar, Green Hydrogen

  • Japanese companies like Toshiba and Toray Industries are leading the way in developing affordable “green” hydrogen technology.
  • Toshiba has made a breakthrough by reducing the iridium requirement in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyzers by 90% through the development of iridium oxide nanosheet technology.
  • This innovation is expected to significantly reduce the cost of electrolyzers, making green hydrogen more affordable and ready for commercialization in the mid-2020s.

Toshiba’s iridium oxide nanosheet catalyst works by using a multilayer structure to reduce the amount of iridium required while maintaining the efficiency of water electrolysis.

  1. Structure:
    • The structure consists of alternate layers of iridium oxide nanosheet films and void layers, which significantly expands the deposition surface area.
  2. Sputtering Technology:
    • In sputtering, ions bombard a deposition material (target) in a vacuum, depositing the ejected particles on a substrate.
    • Toshiba’s process uses iridium as the target and injects oxygen to form a thin film of iridium oxide on the substrate. This allows for precise control of thickness at the nanometer level, ensuring uniform iridium oxide layers with less iridium.
  3. Deposition and Efficiency:
    • The multilayer catalyst maintains water electrolysis performance while reducing the required iridium to 1/10.
    • By modifying the deposition distribution ratio for multiple metal targets, including iridium, and the oxygen input level, Toshiba has developed a large-scale production technology that can deposit the catalyst on an area of up to 5m2 at a time.

This innovative catalyst technology is expected to significantly reduce the reliance on iridium, a rare and expensive metal, and make green hydrogen production more cost-effective and sustainable.

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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