Prevention actions against climate change require that world economies decarbonize their industries and energy systems. This is a huge challenge because the energy matrix relies on fossil fuel burning, which has the highest greenhouse gas incidence. Hydrogen (H2) generation is an alternative for the transition to clean, low-carbon energy systems.
Hydrogen is a crucial chemical for ammonia-based fertilizers and could be used in iron ore reduction for the steel industry and to produce biofuel and synthetic hydrocarbons. These are key industries for our present and future, and therefore it is imperative to decarbonize them. In addition, hydrogen can be stored and transported safely, and transformed into electricity in a fuel cell, thus being an excellent energy carrier.
Electrolysis is an auspicious source of hydrogen, but several challenges are still to be addressed: Access to affordable renewable energy, a significant reduction in electrolyzer cost, and high-capacity factor in electrolysis plants. One of the major costs of electrolyzers is the catalyst materials, which are based on platinum or platinum group metals (PGM). Several efforts are under development to address these challenges, aiming to reduce the devices’ cost, improving efficiency, and extending service life. The search for alternative, competitive, and sustainable catalyst materials is a crucial line of research and development.
In this context, rhenium emerges as an excellent alternative to PGMs, due to its remarkable electrochemical properties, reduced cost compared to PGMs, and its stable and sustainable sourcing. Rhenium, and its oxides and sulfides, has shown promising properties for the catalysis of the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR). Rhenium’s catalytic properties have been explored for multiple reactions, from reforming fossil fuels to bio-refining and others.
All entries must be submitted online by 5pm EDT on August 20, 2021 on NineSights, the NineSigma open innovation community, according to the online instructions. Along with the main entry, supporting documents may be submitted as well.
Entries from academic researchers, companies, research institutes, startups and individuals are welcome.
Molymet is interested in novel approaches that use rhenium compounds for hydrogen production, hydrogen combustion, hydrogenation and/or production of chemicals that need hydrogen as a precursor.
This might include, but is not limited to:
- Catalytic materials for water splitting
- Catalytic materials for oxygen reduction
- Catalytic materials for e-fuel production
- Other rhenium-based materials for “green hydrogen” production or utilization
- Rhenium should play a central role in the device/material presented in the proposal, i.e., it has a clear effect on performance, efficiency, service life, costs or any other relevant characteristic.
- The amount of rhenium included must be significant for the current production levels.
- The device/material can be produced with current commercial specifications for rhenium products or the specification can be reached by minor modification to production processes.
Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors, and joint collaborations are all welcome.
Appropriate entries will respond online following the template provided for this Challenge. Your concise, non-confidential proposal should address the following:
- Description of proposed application and its technical feasibility
- Overview of the proposed solution, including: Aims, Approach and What is novel about the approach
- Technical maturity of the approach
- Potential business opportunity
- Comparison of proposed rhenium application against existing technologies with regard to the value that rhenium use provides (where applicable)
- Potential annual rhenium consumption when implemented at a commercial scale
- Development budget and Gantt (best estimation) for the next stage of development
- Explain how the proposed solution could be scaled up
- Past achievements and list of references that support your proposed study
- Brief description of the team behind the proposal
By submitting a proposal, respondents agree to the Official Rules and to submission requirements, including confidentiality, selection, and the review process. Respondents agree to the submission terms described in the response form.
Participants in this competition vie for up to three USD 20,000 (twenty thousand) cash prizes, i.e. the Molymet Innovation Award.
In addition, Molymet, at its sole discretion, may decide to make funding and networks available for possible joint collaboration projects with the Award winners to further develop prototypes. If Molymet decides to act accordingly, then:
- Molymet will provide them free rhenium samples
- Molymet will provide expertise and support during the prototyping phase
- Molymet at its sole discretion may decide to coparticipate/subsidize/finance the prototyping phase and further stages
- And finally, if a commercial phase is reached, Molymet will use its best efforts to come up with a long-term and fixed price supply agreement in order to keep manufacturing costs at a very competitive level during the maturation of this development