The goal of NewHydrogen’s sponsored research at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is to lower the cost of green hydrogen by systematically reducing the cost and increasing the performance of critical components of hydrogen generators. These electrolyzers split water into oxygen and hydrogen and currently rely on rare materials such as iridium and platinum, which account for a substantial portion of the cost.
In 2021, researchers at UCLA funded by NewHydrogen developed a low-cost oxygen catalyst that does not use expensive iridium and significantly improved the performance of PEM electrolyzers. Also developed were hydrogen catalysts that use an order of magnitude less platinum or no platinum at all.
The company is now entering the stage of incorporating its novel oxygen and hydrogen catalysts into a complete prototype electrolyzer. As the company expands its technology focus beyond catalysts, this prototype will serve as a platform to include additional component innovations related to gas diffusion layer, ion exchange membrane, and catalyst layer. The company’s ultimate goal is to develop a low-cost and high-performance electrolyzer consisting of multiple breakthrough components.
The researchers will first systematically conduct acidic water splitting by using the commercial platinum and iridium-based catalysts to evaluate the benchmark performance of current commercial catalysts and set up a standard testing protocol. They will then evaluate the performance of the company’s new catalysts in the prototype electrolyzer, such as the activity transition into electrolytic cell, long term stability, hydrogen production rate, specific energy consumption and estimated overall costs of new catalysts.
“We are very pleased to see the exciting progress being made in our green hydrogen program at UCLA,” said Dr. David Lee, CEO of NewHydrogen. “We look forward to seeing more exciting achievements as we methodically expand our technology focus beyond catalysts in 2023.”