New Catalyst for Electrolysis Reduces Costs by 97% and Increases Hydrogen Production Fourfold

Hydrogen, the cleanest energy storage in the Universe, is most of the time associated with high costs, although it is extracted from water, which is the cheapest yet the most precious element to life. Extracting hydrogen from water is done through a method called electrolysis, but doing electrolysis efficiently requires the usage of catalysts such as platinum, which is very expensive.

GA-based GridShift Inc., funded by Khosla Ventures announced the discovery of a new water electrolysis technology that uses no expensive metals such as platinum. GridShift brags their technology reduces the costs with the catalysts by 97 percent, with an ounce costing just $58, as opposed to $1700 an ounce for platinum.

“Hydrogen is a critical piece of America’s future renewable energy policy,” said Robert Dopp, CEO of GridShift, Inc. “Our new water electrolysis process generates carbon neutral hydrogen that is cheaper than gasoline at a fraction of the cost and size of currently available water electrolysis hydrogen generators. We are now on the path to a truly viable hydrogen fueled future.”

The key to GridShif’s process is a new method for coating a complex three-dimensionally shaped electrode on all surfaces with a unique combination of readily available nano particles that expose the catalysts to the electrolyte for efficient water electrolysis reactions and is robust enough to withstand the rigors of electrolysis.

The result is an electrolyzer running as a full cell at 1000 milliamp per cm2 at 80% energy efficiency. GridShift is on track to reach their goal of 85% energy efficiency, which is 47 kWh/kgH2 or $2.35 per kg of H2. Overall, GridShif’s new method for hydrogen generation produces four times more hydrogen per electrode surface area than what is currently reported for commercial units today.

There are also other researchers that study the efficiency of platinum catalysts, such as Daniel Nocera from the MIT. Seeing which of these technologies will succeed will decide the price of the future hydrogen economy.

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Comments

  • MichaelT

    All the energy used to get hydrogen out of water comes from electricity. Why no just put that electricity directly into batteries and you will get much higher efficiency.

  • M. Reda

    Stability is a problem. You can make a surface that is very efficient for oxygen evolution reaction that is good for while. The membrane ( a thin plastic that separate the two electrode and prevent the mixing of the liquid but allow the ions to swim freely between the two electrode) that separate the two electrode is a problem too. Too much bad pollutants are produced during manufacture.This membrane also degrade quickly.

  • The First Law of Thermodynamics states that if an amount of energy is applied to a system to bring it into an other condition (H2O split to H and O) the same amount of energy must be removed from the system  to bring it back in the original condition ( combustion of H and O to H2O) . Hence, at 100% efficiency, no net energy can be taken out, as it then would have come out of nothing. That means that all the energy that would drive a car, doesn’t come from the Hydrogen, but from an other energy source … yes, the electricity grid, powerd by fossil fuels. HYDROGEN IS NOT AN ENERGY SOURCE !

    • Shmeg

      what a limited view thank god you aren’ t in charge of thinking for everyone. Your supposition is only limited by your assumption that energy must come from fossil fuels and the grid. What a silly statement. I have no issue with the application of thermodynamic laws. If your supposition holds true we would never have used any of the energy we have exploited over the years. If I can use cheap, available energy (solar, wind, thermal, tidal, radio) to create hydrogen in a form that I can then use in expensive energy situations, heating, vehicles or even on demand power generation, then that is a great situation. Of course there is always a ‘cost of energy’ production of devices etc. nothing is ‘free’ but IT IS always about cost. Cost to the planet, cost of production etc, and that IS what makes it a viable energy source.
      I am not spouting wild theories. I live this. I use solar panels on the roof of my camper van to produce HHO. I use this as a fuel supplement. It has the direct benefit of reducing my fuel consumption by 5%-15% depending on my driving situation. That’s not much but its 5%-15% in my wallet. I also am able to run lower octane fuels in my vehicle the cost reduct of this is up to 15% as well also goes back into my wallet. Unmeasurable side effects are noticeable better acceleration and power, smoother idling and smoother top speed running. So I am not really bothered by your dogmatic rejection of a HHO proposition because the benefits will still arrive in my wallet.
      However I am often left wondering what would happen if intelligent people (as you obviously are) chose to instead of stating ‘it can’t be done’ and asked “what could be done?”.. What your intelligence could actually produce.

  • Arthur D Hall

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    OPEN SOURCE IT TO THE PUBLIC WILL BE GOTTEN TO VERY QUICKLY AND
    THE PUBLIC WILL NEVER SEE IT. WHOEVER OPEN SOURCES THIS WILL BE
    REWARDED WITH FAME AND FORTUNE BEYOND THEIR WILDEST DREAMS.

    SO, KEEPING THIS INFORMATION THIS CLOSE TO THE CUFF INDICATES
    THAT IT IS JUST SOME SORT OF RUSE .

    IF YOU ARE A PATRIOT WITH THE GUTS, RELEASE THE INFORMATION
    IF YOU REALLY HAVE IT.

  • Wow, what a cost reduction! The cost of catalysts for electrolysis is reduced by over $1500 per ounce. That’s amazing. I would be interested to hear how Daniel Nocera is doing on his research on platinum catalysts now, since I know this was written almost a year ago. He seems to be doing some pretty incredible research, as I saw from another one of your articles regarding him receiving $7.1 million for his photosynthesis research. I look forward to hearing more about this.

    Amber Coleman