Materials Technology to Enable the Hydrogen Economy
Our versatile material platform has been developed through decades of catalyst optimization work, focusing on minimizing the usage of expensive Platinum Group Metals. The material technology consists of various mixed metal oxide (MMO) materials, which have demonstrable synergistic effect with traditional PGM catalysts.
With Material Synthesis and Characterization capabilities, CDTi can support application development and optimization.
Capabilities including tailoring support oxides by fine-tuning compositions, dopants, surface area, crystal size and integration of nano-structured supports to facilitate redox reactions.
Bi-functional air electrode
The CDTi Material Platform development has lead to the development of a bi-functional Oxygen Reduction / Oxygen Evolution catalyst, which has been applied to modern iterations of rechargeable air electrodes. Zinc-air batteries have been commercialized in many markets as an alternative energy storage system.
One advantage of utilizing zinc–air batteries for vehicle propulsion is that earth's supply of zinc metal is 100 times greater than that of lithium, per unit of battery energy. Current yearly global zinc production is sufficient to produce enough zinc–air batteries to power over one billion electric vehicles, whereas current lithium production is only sufficient to produce ten million lithium-ion powered vehicles. Approximately 35% of the world's supply, or 1.8 gigatons of zinc reserves are in the United States, whereas the U.S. holds only 0.38% of known lithium reserves. [wikipedia]
The rechargeable device is usually built upon the 1+2 electrode cell with two separated charging and discharging air electrodes. A bi-functional ORR/OER catalyst enables reduced component design.
One of the challenges for market growth remains to reduce the contribution cost of expensive platinum group metals. The CDTi Material Platform has demonstrated equivalent performance using PGM free catalysts.
Hydrogen has been identified as a key component of a clean energy infrastructure, and as a universal clean fuel, enabling de-carbonization of transportation and industry. As examples, it can be used in fuel cells to power heavy-duty trucks, it can be converted into ammonia as an alternative fuel, it can be power gas turbines to generate electricity, and importantly it can serve as a replacement fuel for industrial plants that can’t be fully electrified. Hydrogen can even be used as energy storage, acting similar to a large battery, providing power to energy grids to balance the cyclic availability of renewable energy.
The process to make Green Hydrogen, which implies no net carbon contribution, involves the use of renewable energy to generate Hydrogen through an electrolysis process. The Electrolyzer is a device designed to electrochemically split the water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen. CDTi has applied our long development history of Automotive Catalysts to the oxygen exchange process used in electrolysis.
In the electrolysis process, Hydrogen is collected from the cathode via a hydrogen evolution reaction, and likewise oxygen at the anode via an oxygen evolution reaction. Current state-of-art hydrogen and oxygen evolution reaction catalysts are made of expensive precious metals, such as Platinum and Iridium Oxide, the cost of which can contribute up to 46% of the Electrolyzer bill of materials. The CDTi material platform for Electrolysis focuses on development of PGM free and carbon free catalysts to lower cost and enable globally competitive technology.