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Ilika is pleased to announce it has completed the scope of work for the next stage of the transport fuel cell programme with a major vehicle manufacturer and progressed the collaboration to a JDP from the original contract research relationship. The materials are being designed to require substantially smaller quantities of platinum (platinum-lean) than current catalysts, ultimately reducing the cost of fuel cell technology.

The terms of the contract renewal are such that the relationship has transitioned into a joint development project. Ilika will receive up-front payments towards the cost of carrying out the research and development activities. Foreground intellectual property will be jointly owned and Ilika will have the freedom to use and license the technology for a number of applications, including the motorcycle and electronics sectors.

A fuel cell is an electrochemical conversion device that produces electricity without combustion of the fuel. Hydrogen is the most common energy supply for a fuel cell as it has the right electrochemistry and the exhaust product is water. Many fuel cells under development, particularly for transport and electronics applications, use platinum-based electrodes. While platinum works well, it is very scarce and therefore expensive. Membrane electrode assemblies, of which platinum is the principal cost, typically make up 40% of the cost of a fuel cell. The end-market for fuel cell technology is still in its infancy. However, the development of platinum-lean catalysts or non-platinum-based electrode materials could significantly accelerate the development of this market.