Smoltek Innovation, a Swedish nanotech company, is developing a unique and high-performance nanofiber-based cell material for electrolyzers used in hydrogen production. To maintain a strong momentum, the company is working to establish a collaboration for the development with a major international manufacturer, as well as to strengthen the Smoltek Innovation team.
Currently, Smoltek is conducting a pre-study which is aimed at developing a technical proof-of-concept for a cell material for electrolyzers based on the company’s nanofiber technology. The pre-study is managed by Smoltek, and it is carried out in collaboration with several European research groups. Initially, the work was focused on ensuring patent protection for the company’s innovations, but now the scope has been expanded to evaluate critical technical parameters and to assess the possible production cost. The pre-study has also been expanded to include various methods for corrosion protection, as Smoltek has shifted its focus to the anode side of the electrolyzer, where a low pH value provides an aggressive environment. The technical results and performance obtained so far have been positive, and the fibers produced in a laboratory environment have an appropriate shape when inspected under a scanning electron microscope.
Subsequent technical development will be focused on optimizing the concept. In practical terms, this means first producing a small-scale demonstrator, and thereafter a full-scale prototype with the same size and characteristics in future large-scale production.
In parallel with the technical development on the product side, Smoltek will work with industrialization by developing a complete concept around large-scale production of the company’s cell material. A central part of the industrialization process will be to specify a production equipment for large-scale production of carbon nanofibers. Several potential suppliers of such machines have already been identified in collaboration with the group company Smoltek Semi.
“Our development of a unique cell material for electrolyzers is still at an early stage, but we have already achieved significant progress within patent protection as well as technical development. We are pioneers when it comes to applying for patents for applications using nanofibers within energy conversion, which means that we have the potential to secure a broad and potentially very valuable patent portfolio. The market for electrolyzers alone is expected to grow significantly as the electrification of the world continues, and we also see further potential in areas such as fuel cells, batteries and various niche applications”, says Ellinor Ehrnberg, President of Smoltek Innovation AB.