Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (“Toshiba ESS”) announced today that it has agreed a memorandum of understanding with Furuya Metal Co., Ltd. (“Furuya”) on exploring an alliance to establish a stable supply network for iridium. One of the world’s rarest metals, iridium is an essential material for the manufacture of proton exchange membranes (PEM) used in water electrolyzers that produce hydrogen. The projected alliance will reinforce the metal’s supply chain, and enhance the manufacture of membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) with iridium-based technology*1 developed by Toshiba Group.
PEM water electrolysis produces green hydrogen, a clean energy, by applying electricity generated from renewables to the electrolysis. It is highly adaptable to fluctuations in supply of renewable sources, and offers excellent durability. At the heart of the PEM is the MEA, a catalyst made from iridium—but if PEM water electrolyzers are to find wider use, the amount of iridium used in each one must be significantly reduced.
Toshiba ESS continues to develop an MEA that not only achieves required levels of high performance, durability and large capacity hydrogen production, but also cuts the use of iridium to 1/10 from the traditional manufacturing method.
Furuya is one of the world’s leading precious metal companies, with particular expertise in the use of platinum group metals in industrial applications. It handles some of the largest volumes of iridium of any company anywhere, with capabilities that extend from processing to recovery and refining of used products. Furuya operates an iridium recycling-oriented business model that combines high efficiency with short lead times.
Shigehiro Kawahara, Director and Vice President at Toshiba ESS, said: “We are very excited to explore a business alliance with Furuya for a stable iridium supply network, and look forward to successful discussions. At Toshiba ESS, we will continue to expand our water electrolysis business and to achieve large-scale solutions for clean hydrogen that contribute to decarbonization.”
Through their alliance, Toshiba ESS and Furuya aim to reduce the cost of MEA, and to use their respective strengths in iridium-saving technology, recycling technology, and stable supply capabilities to curb the risk of price fluctuations.
*1: For details of the technology, please refer to the following news release
About Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation
Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, handles Toshiba Group’s energy businesses.
With its long experience and expertise in a wide range of power generation and transmission systems, and in energy management technologies, the company delivers innovative, reliable, and efficient energy solutions across the globe.
Toshiba ESS was separated from Toshiba in October 2017.
Find out more about Toshiba ESS at https://www.global.toshiba/ww/company/energy.html
About Furuya Metal Co. Ltd.
Furuya Metal has been focusing on developing technologies of fabrication and purification of Iridium and Ruthenium for years, and has established a complete loop of the materials, starting from the stable supply from the mines to manufacturing of the products and recycling from all kinds of scraps.
Furuya is a world leading company for Iridium, and contributing to the transition to Green Society.