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Pajarito Powder Selected for $20 Million in DOE Awards to Build Out Fuel Cell and Green Hydrogen Catalyst Supply Chains

Published by Todd Bush on March 27, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Pajarito Powder, LLC, a domestic developer and manufacturer of advanced catalysts, an enabling technology used in fuel cells and electrolyzers, was selected for two $10 million awards by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The funds will be used to increase production and reduce costs of catalysts for lower-cost fuel cells and green hydrogen production.

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Cheaper Fuel Cell Catalysts

On the fuel cell project, Pajarito Powder will work with Brookhaven National Laboratory, General Motors Co., Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Strategic Analysis, as well as with national laboratory researchers as part of the Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck Consortium. Community partners include the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, UNM's STEM-H Center, and the New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD).

"Pajarito Powder believes that hydrogen is one of the keys to decarbonizing transportation," said company chief executive officer and board chairman Thomas J. Stephenson. "With lower-cost catalysts, fuel cells will become commercially viable for larger vehicles that need more energy."

The project will support DOE's goal of enabling domestic, commercial production of fuel cell catalysts and components. The project will scale up production of carbon supports and platinum and platinum alloy catalysts and reduce carbon-supported catalyst costs, paving the way for low-cost, commercial deployment of fuel cells. Fuel cell performance is also expected to improve.

Green Hydrogen Catalysts

Pajarito Powder will work with Auris Noble and Nel Hydrogen to create an increased supply of catalysts that will dramatically reduce the amount of iridium needed for proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis. Pajarito Powder will working with three community partners – UNM's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, UNM's STEM-H Center and the New Mexico EDD and plan to leverage national laboratory expertise through the H2NEW Consortium.

"This is a very significant development for our company,'' said Dr. Michele Ostraat, chief operating officer of Pajarito Powder, principal investigator managing both projects. "We're going to staff up, add equipment, install new systems, and accelerate our growth – all to advance the goals we share with DOE. This is a big step in creating a green hydrogen ecosystem in New Mexico."

Pajarito Powder's engineered PEM catalysts reduce the amount of iridium used in green hydrogen production by 14 percent to 60 percent, making the supply of this precious metal extend further. It also greatly reduces the cost of green hydrogen production.

Pajarito Powder opened a new manufacturing facility in Albuquerque this year that will enable 200 times as much production of hydrogen fuel cell catalysts and 100 times as much production of green hydrogen catalysts.

About Pajarito Powder

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, Pajarito Powder is a world leader in the development and commercialization of advanced electrocatalysts for fuel cells and electrolyzers. Pajarito Powder manufactures a range of catalyst products using its own intellectual property as well as intellectual property licensed from UNM, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Pajarito Powder manufactures catalysts for use in proton exchange membrane (PEM) and anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzers and PEM fuel cells. Pajarito Powder materials more effectively use platinum group metal (PGM) components, resulting in higher performance, better stability, and improved durability.

Pajarito Powder is a venture-backed startup funded by Bekaert, Hyundai Motor Company, Verge Fund, Omphalos Venture Partners, and other private investors. It has received essential support from the New Mexico EDD, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, and the City of Albuquerque.

SOURCE Pajarito Powder

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