Toshiba is exploring an alliance to establish a supply network for iridium, a rare metal that is key to its plans to produce clean hydrogen. The company announced the move on Thursday, August 3, 2023.
Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba, signed a memorandum of understanding last week with fellow Japanese company Furuya Metal, which has expertise in processing and recycling rare metals, including iridium.
Toshiba is developing equipment to produce “green” hydrogen made from renewable energy, seen as a promising greenhouse-gas-free fuel. Iridium is a key catalyst in membranes used in electrolyzers, which separate out hydrogen from water molecules.
Only around 7 tonnes a year of iridium is produced worldwide, and prices are trending higher with demand expected to rise as hydrogen energy gains traction in applications from factories to fuel cell vehicles. Toshiba aims to secure a stable supply of the metal in anticipation of this trend.
The company is also working on a membrane that uses a tenth as much iridium as current manufacturing methods, hoping to help bring the price of hydrogen down.
A stable supply of iridium and a reduction in the cost of green hydrogen could accelerate the adoption of this clean fuel. Green hydrogen could be used to reduce emissions in a variety of industries, including transportation, power generation, and manufacturing.
Toshiba’s iridium supply network alliance is a positive step towards the development of a more sustainable energy future. By securing a stable supply of iridium and reducing the cost of green hydrogen, Toshiba can help to accelerate the adoption of this clean fuel.