Electrolyzers in the market today fall into two categories – hot and cold. Cold electrolyzers—like alkaline, AEM, PEM, and others—work with liquid water. They always require large amounts of electricity to coax a liquid into electrolysis, at least 40 kWh to make a kilogram of hydrogen, and often more than 50 kWh is needed. Worse yet, many of these systems require expensive platinum and iridium metals and exotic, delicate polymers. Meanwhile, hot electrolyzers such as solid oxide electrolyzers work with 800 °C superheated steam. By working with steam, the electricity requirements are significantly lower. But, making steam that hot requires extra energy to ‘step-up’ industrial steam to the required temperature. And what’s more, hot electrolyzers use delicate and expensive ceramics that drive up capital costs and reduce reliability.
Our magic is in the middle. Our Symbiotic™ Electrolyzers use process or waste heat across a wide temperature range—from 100 °C up to as hot as you can get it. By operating with steam, our electrolyzers tap into excess heat that is already available in industrial settings, lowering electricity use in tandem, usually below 35 kWh/kg, with 30 kWh/kg possible. And what’s more, our technology uses abundant and widely available components to keep capital costs low – no expensive platinum-group metals, no iridium, no fluoropolymer membranes.