Proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis represents a highly promising means of green hydrogen production. However, PEM electrolyzers are expensive, typically requiring costly iridium-based catalysts. Scalable, cost-effective PEM electrolysis to compete with hydrogen produced via steam methane reforming has long remained out of reach.
You can reduce costs in your PEM electrolyzers with the help of the currently in development, 3M™ Nanostructured Supported Iridium Catalyst Powder*. Every 10 grams could help you produce 10 tons of hydrogen per year and help prevent 100 tons of CO₂ emissions per year relative to steam reforming. We can help you reduce iridium loading and lower system costs, allowing you to meet electrolyzer efficiency and lifetime requirements.
With support from the U.S. Department of Energy, 3M is developing this catalyst to help you overcome barriers to scale in your PEM electrolysis and spearhead the expansion of green hydrogen production.
* This is an experimental or developmental product that has not been introduced or commercialized for general sale, and its formulation, performance characteristics and other properties, specifications (if any), availability, and pricing are not guaranteed and are subject to change or withdrawal without notice.
Alkaline electrolysis is about precision. Temperature, flow rates and electrolyte concentration must be controlled to maximize efficiency, manage costs and make green hydrogen from alkaline electrolysis economically viable. This requires alkaline electrolyzers with reliable and precise fluid handling systems.
3M provides custom-engineered technical ceramic components used in a range of fluid handling applications. 3M™ Silicon Carbide Sliding Bearings combine tribological performance under high load with excellent corrosion and wear resistance. They are compatible with various process fluids — including aggressive acids and alkalis — and are used in industrial and process pump applications for hermetically sealed centrifugal pumps and stirrers.
Technical ceramic parts from 3M include seals, bearings and other fluid handling components that can be customized to your application requirements. Contact us to learn more.
Solid oxide electrolysis is expected to play a major role in the clean energy transition. Solid oxide electrolyzer cells have potential to be more energy efficient than PEM or alkaline electrolyzers, helping enable cost-effective, low-carbon hydrogen production. They are ideal for nuclear-powered hydrogen production (pink hydrogen) and other applications in which waste heat can be harvested.
However, roadblocks remain before solid oxide electrolysis can reach commercial viability. Solid oxide electrolyzers operate at high temperatures up to 1,000 °C, increasing mechanical and chemical degradation and limiting electrolyzer lifetime. Managing thermal stress while controlling costs is a fundamental challenge of solid oxide electrolyzer design.
Energy leaders worldwide have used 3M™ Nextel™ Ceramic Fibers and Textiles in solid oxide fuel cells to help maintain stack integrity and extend cell life. Nextel fibers can withstand extreme temperatures and thermal cycling, and 3M is exploring potential applications in solid oxide electrolyzers. Contact us to learn more.
Under typical industry operating conditions, every 10 grams of 3M™ Nanostructured Supported Iridium Catalyst Powder* could help you produce up to 10 tons of hydrogen per year via PEM water electrolysis. This is made possible by a catalyst areal loading requirement of 5 grams of iridium (gˡʳ/m²) or lower — significantly less than the 20 – 25 gˡʳ/m² requirements of other catalysts.
Under laboratory testing, a loading of 5 gˡʳ/m² meets representative industry durability requirements with decay rates less than 3 mV per 1000 hours at current densities up to 10 A/cm² and an operating temperature of 80°C.
Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced without releasing operational carbon emissions, through water electrolysis powered by renewable energy. Green hydrogen offers energy solutions for sectors such as steel and long haul transport that are otherwise difficult to decarbonize.
Currently, about 95% of all hydrogen is produced from natural gas.¹ However, the green hydrogen market is projected to grow rapidly: from $1.83 billion in 2021 to $89.2 billion by 2030.² 3M™ Nanostructured Supported Iridium Catalyst Powder can help you control your costs and potentially overcome longstanding barriers to the expansion of green hydrogen production. See the 3M 2023 Global Impact Report(p. 92) (PDF, 10.18 MB) for more on our climate and energy technologies.
Drawing from our spectrum of technology platforms, 3M is exploring opportunities to help customers solve their decarbonization problems around the world. Our industry-leading adhesives and sealants are engineered to help our customers meet their precise design needs.
We are also applying expertise in membrane separation technologies towards applications in low-carbon energy separations. Membrane separations have great potential to help improve and scale up emerging decarbonization technologies including renewable fuel production and carbon capture. Contact us to learn more.
¹Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office. “Hydrogen Fuel Basics.” Energy.gov. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-fuel-basics.
²Precedence Research. “Green Hydrogen Market Size to Surpass US$ 89.18 Bn by 2030.” GlobeNewswire News Room, January 11, 2022. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/01/11/2364715/0/en/Green-Hydrogen-Market-Size-to-Surpass-US-89-18-Bn-by-2030.html.
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