New Technology to Reduce Rare Metals in Green Hydrogen Production Developed by Korean Researchers - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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New Technology to Reduce Rare Metals in Green Hydrogen Production Developed by Korean Researchers

Here’s an article posted in Interesting Engineering.

According to the article,

  • Korean researchers have developed a new technology that significantly reduces the use of rare metals like platinum and iridium in green hydrogen production
  • The new technology is based on a nickel-iron-cobalt layered double hydroxide material, which is a significantly cheaper alternative to iridium
  • The new carbon-supported catalyst could help to accelerate the commercialization of green hydrogen

The process developed by the research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) focuses on reducing the use of expensive rare metals, such as platinum and iridium, in green hydrogen production devices while maintaining performance and durability. Here’s a detailed explanation of the process along with specific data points:

  1. Problem Statement: Green hydrogen production faces a challenge due to high production costs associated with the use of rare metals like platinum and iridium in electrolysis devices.
  2. Research Objective: The objective of the research was to develop a technology that reduces the quantity of platinum and iridium required in the protective layers of electrolysis devices without compromising their performance and durability.
  3. Innovative Approach:
    • Instead of solely focusing on reducing the quantity of iridium catalyst, the researchers replaced the precious metal in the protective layer with inexpensive iron nitride (Fe2N).
    • Iron nitride possesses a large surface area, making it suitable for the protective layer.
    • A composite process was used to uniformly coat the electrode with iron oxide, which has low electrical conductivity. This coated layer was then converted to iron nitride to enhance conductivity.
    • A thin layer (about 25 nanometers thick) of iridium catalyst was uniformly coated over the iron nitride layer.
  4. Result:
    • The developed electrode maintained performance comparable to existing commercial electrolysis units.
    • The amount of iridium catalyst required was reduced to just 10% of the current level.
    • The economic efficiency of the electrolysis devices was significantly increased.
  5. Verification:
    • The team operated the new components for over 100 hours to verify its initial stability.
    • Further observation of performance and durability is planned before applying the technology to commercial devices.
  6. Significance:
    • The use of inexpensive iron nitride instead of platinum for the protective layer is a significant development in reducing the cost of green hydrogen production devices.
    • This technology addresses the scarcity and low production of precious metals used in electrolysis devices, making them more economically feasible for widespread adoption.
    • It is a crucial step towards realizing a green hydrogen economy by making hydrogen production more cost-effective and sustainable.

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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