Home » Mattiq Revolutionizes PGM Use, Addresses Iridium Shortage

Mattiq Revolutionizes PGM Use, Addresses Iridium Shortage

Electrochemical Advances Pave Way for Sustainable Hydrogen Production

by Adenike Adeodun

A significant stride towards mitigating the scarcity of iridium and boosting the demand for Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) through electrochemical applications has been set in motion, according to insights from the clean chemistry company Mattiq. This Chicago-based firm is pioneering efforts to revolutionize chemicals production by reducing carbon emissions, with a keen focus on utilizing low-iridium materials for PGM-based proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers. These electrolysers are pivotal in generating green hydrogen, a cornerstone for achieving a sustainable energy transition and realizing net-zero emissions globally.

Dr. Mike Ashley, heading product management at Mattiq, conveyed in a detailed discussion with Mining Weekly that the company is on track to commercialize low-iridium materials by 2025, aiming to forge a partnership with a catalyst manufacturer within this year. Ashley predicts a substantial short-term surge in PGM demand due to electrochemical processes, underlining Mattiq’s commitment to developing these processes powered by clean electricity for a greener chemical production landscape.

The use of other PGMs like platinum, palladium, and rhodium, known for their durable and efficient catalytic properties, presents a less expensive and more abundant alternative to iridium. These materials are being considered for their potential in reducing carbon emissions across various chemical productions, including acetic acid, adipic acid, and ethylene glycol, which are integral to food, beverage, and textile industries, among others.

Mattiq’s initiative reflects a broader industry trend towards exploring innovative solutions to address the dual challenges of PGM scarcity and the carbon-intensive nature of chemical manufacturing. By integrating small quantities of PGMs into electrochemical systems, Mattiq envisions significantly enhancing the durability and efficiency of these processes, thereby contributing to the global decarbonization effort, particularly in the hard-to-abate chemical sector.

The spotlight on iridium, given its unparalleled durability under extreme conditions, underscores the urgency to find sustainable alternatives to meet the growing demands for PEM electrolysis. Mattiq’s research and development efforts have led to the identification of over a million novel materials with reduced iridium content, undergoing rigorous testing to ensure their viability for real-world applications.

This development comes at a critical time when the global demand for iridium is intensifying due to its indispensable role in various electrochemical processes, including PEM electrolysis, essential for synthesizing zero-carbon hydrogen fuel. Current estimates suggest that the production of PEM electrolysers alone could require significant quantities of iridium, challenging the industry to secure sufficient supplies amidst the projected growth in electrolyser deployment.

In response to these challenges, the industry is witnessing remarkable progress in “thrifting” efforts, aiming to minimize reliance on iridium by optimizing its usage and exploring the integration of other materials like ruthenium. Such innovations not only promise to alleviate supply constraints but also contribute to reducing the overall material costs, thereby enhancing the feasibility of widespread adoption of green hydrogen technologies.

As the global community advances towards ambitious decarbonization goals, the role of PGMs, particularly through innovations in electrochemical applications, remains pivotal. Mattiq’s endeavors exemplify the concerted efforts required to navigate the complexities of resource scarcity, technological advancement, and environmental sustainability, marking a significant step forward in the transition to a net-zero economy.


Source: Mining Weekly

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