Ionomr releases iridium-free catalyst coated anion exchange membranes

Ionomr Innovations has released a catalyst coated membrane (CCM) based on its Aemion® anion exchange membranes (AEMs) for reference development of low-cost green hydrogen systems. This marks ‘a new era’ for green hydrogen production, featuring iridium-free CCMs devoid of toxic PFSA substances.

“Ionomr is releasing these CCMs as part of our reference design strategy to enable our partners with ready-made products. By working directly with leading electrode manufacturers, we’re establishing a supply chain around AEM that will allow for cost-effectiveness and rapid scale-up,” said Bill Haberlin, CEO of Ionomr Innovations Inc. “Incorporated into the CCM, Ionomr’s materials will help drive down the cost of electrolyzers and improve devices’ performance and efficiency without sacrificing durability.”

Green hydrogen production by electrolysis typically relies on rare and expensive noble metal components such as iridium ($185k/kg), which, conventionally, are the preferred catalysts for producing hydrogen through electrolysis at scale using intermittent renewables. The total production capacity of iridium is approximately 7.5 tonnes/year, which equates to a potential electrolyzer production capacity of only about 30 GW per year at current catalyst loading rates and is one of the major limitations in expanding green hydrogen production to meet ambitious global targets.

Precious metal-free systems are available using alkaline technology with porous separators. However, these continue to struggle with ramping up and down to match electricity profiles from renewable power due to separator challenges in preventing the hydrogen and oxygen from mixing. For flexible membrane-based technologies, perfluorosulfonic acids (PFSAs) are the conventional polymer electrolyte membrane material. PFSAs are known to be harmful, bio-accumulative environmental toxins that cause dire health effects.

Through significant reduction in precious metal usage, the capital expense (CAPEX) of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), and therefore the stack and system, are reduced dramatically. This reduction in CAPEX along with the high efficiency provided by the CCM enable significant reductions in operating expense (OPEX), by reducing the cost of capital contribution to the hydrogen price when paired with intermittent renewables, which have a low-capacity factor. Using these low-capacity factor electricity sources is essential to achieving electricity prices that can support hydrogen production costs below $2/kg, and the release of AEM-based CCMs marks a major step forward in competitive green hydrogen production.

Ionomr synthesizes membranes and polymers from a hydrocarbon base that demonstrates no bio-accumulative tendencies and are non-toxic to the environment through production and disposal. Ionomr’s materials are recyclable and enable system circularity by environmentally friendly catalyst recovery, making them superior replacements for standard membrane and polymer products containing PFAS.

HTW Editorial Team

HTW Editorial Team

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