Iridium: An indispensable, scarce metal for the hydrogen economy – so how can availability be ensured?

PEM electrolysis is pivotal for producing green hydrogen from renewable energy and is based on precious metals, namely platinum and iridium. The latter is especially scarce, as only around nine metric tons per year of primary metal are extracted by mines (and not likely to be significantly increased).

The required amount of iridium per gigawatt (GW) in PEM electrolysis currently averages 400kg/GW of electrolyser capacity; this is far too much to build the announced capacities for PEM electrolysis (more than 70GW by 2030) with the available amount of iridium.

Thrifting of iridium as well as the recycling of untapped streams is needed to safeguard the growth of PEM electrolysis. Here in this article, we’ll explain why and how to do so.

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