Author:
Kaspar Koolmeister

The University of Tartu validates Stargate Hydrogen’s approach to developing iridium-free alkaline electrolysers

  • Novel precious metal-free catalysts developed by Stargate Hydrogen have been tested electrochemically by the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Tartu.
  • The performance of developed catalysts approaches the performance of commercial iridium-based materials.
  • The University of Tartu and Stargate Hydrogen are extending the scope of their collaboration.

Stargate Hydrogen and the University of Tartu have successfully concluded the first phase of a joint development project. The project has thus far focused on the electrochemical characterisation of novel catalyst materials developed by Stargate for use in next-generation, precious metal-free alkaline electrolysers. Electrochemical measurements were carried out by researchers at the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Tartu, and the results confirm the high activity of Stargate's nanoceramic materials.

Alkaline electrolysers are often touted as precious metal-free. In reality, best-performing alkaline electrolysers are still relying heavily on precious metals, such as iridium and ruthenium, to achieve high current densities and high electricity-to-hydrogen conversion efficiencies. Stargate is developing novel ceramics-based alternatives to iridium, and the tests conducted at the University of Tartu have demonstrated that performance approaching commercial iridium-based electrodes is indeed possible.

"We have achieved promising results with Stargate's materials," says Jaak Nerut, PhD, an associate professor at the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Tartu. Dr Nerut's team used cyclic voltammetry to determine the intrinsic electrochemical activity of Stargate's materials toward the processes occurring on the positive electrode of an alkaline electrolyser.

Image
J. Neruti töörühm

The parties are preparing to move into the next phase of their collaboration, which concerns the development of novel electrode fabrication methods based on Stargate's materials. Both the University of Tartu and Stargate are confident that the traditional coating methods used in the industry can be improved. Improved coating methods can, in turn, help enhance electrolyser efficiencies and pave the path towards mass production. Developing methods that enable mass production of electrolyser sub-components are critical to achieving the ambitious scale-up plans set by the industry.

Rainer Küngas, CTO of Stargate Hydrogen, commented: "We are happy to see our approach validated by the rigorous testing carried out by our good partners at the University of Tartu. We aim to bring our precious metal-free technology to mass production as soon as possible to reduce hydrogen production costs and contribute to the widespread adoption of green hydrogen. We are presently exploring several additional avenues of cooperation with the University of Tartu."

Image
Rainer Küngas

"Stargate Hydrogen is an ambitious company challenging the industry incumbents with its novel approach to electrodes and catalyst materials. We are happy to have contributed to this development work and are looking forward to the next steps of the collaboration," Dr Nerut from the University of Tartu commented.

Stargate Hydrogen, a privately owned company, is developing turnkey solutions for green hydrogen deployment. The central innovation of the company is focused on the development of next-generation alkaline electrolysers that are free from precious metals.

The University of Tartu is the oldest and largest higher education institution in Estonia and has been the centre of Estonian academic life for almost four centuries. It is ranked in the top 1.2% of the world's universities, making it one of the leading universities in Northern Europe.

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