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Nornickel unveils innovative developments for carbon-free energy in Beijing

Nornickel has showcased its cutting-edge developments in utilizing palladium for carbon-free energy, including hydrogen, at a major energy conference in China. Following the conference, the company was accepted into the China Hydrogen Alliance.

As the global economy aims for zero emissions by 2050, Nornickel is focusing on overcoming challenges such as high capital costs for modernization, energy supply stability, and soaring costs of energy.

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One of Nornickel’s key initiatives is the research and development of new palladium-based solutions capable of significantly enhancing the efficiency of fossil-free technologies in areas such as hydrogen and solar energy, chemical synthesis, and microelectronics.

The electrolyzer market, crucial for hydrogen production is expected to grow rapidly over the next 10 years. Hence, Nornickel is engaged in research and development in this area, offering innovative palladium-based solutions that could reduce costs and improve hydrogen production efficiency.

Additionally, the company is developing new palladium materials for solar power, which could increase generation efficiency and support a technological breakthrough in the solar sector.

Anna Karzhavina, head of new product commercialization at Nornickel, commented: “Nornickel reaffirms its commitment to innovation and sustainable development by investing significant resources into the research and development of new palladium-based products. These efforts are aimed not only at enhancing current technologies in hydrogen and solar energy but also at discovering new applications for palladium in the future.”

The company’s scientific developments have shown promising results. Specifically, replacing iridium with palladium in proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers promises a significant reduction in cost while simultaneously increasing catalyst activity. This breakthrough could radically transform the hydrogen industry, making it more accessible and efficient.

The results of palladium-based catalyst tests conducted in Russia showed a threefold increase in activity while maintaining high stability and degradation rates comparable to iridium oxide. In 2024, Nornickel anticipates a report from an independent laboratory, which will allow presenting innovative solutions for hydrogen generation on the global market.

Metals Focus, an independent precious metals research consultancy, forecasts a rise in palladium consumption in hydrogen energy to 1.25 million troy ounces in the near future. Nornickel is confident that the company’s developments can capture 25-40% of this market by offering efficient solutions across the entire hydrogen production chain.

As the world moves towards a more sustainable and greener future, Nornickel will continue to play a key role in developing and implementing advanced carbon-free technologies. The company’s commitment to innovation and excellence, backed by deep knowledge and experience in metallurgy, promises to open new horizons for using palladium in a sustainable economy.

KBC Correspondent
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