Ilika (AIM: IKA), a pioneer in solid-state battery technology and materials innovation, announces the grant of three patents covering catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells in the USA. These patents cover a type of catalyst known as "Core-Shell Catalysts", where the catalyst is the coating on nano-scale spherical particles, like the hard shell on a golf ball.
Catalysts are key to ensuring the efficiency and reliability of fuel cells. The catalysts must therefore be stable in the aggressive acidic environment created within hydrogen fuel cells, whilst highly active in promoting the chemical reactions necessary for converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water.
Core-Shell Nanostructured Catalysts typically have a relatively low-cost and stable core, which is then coated with a thin layer (shell) of the active catalyst. The Company's patented catalysts have mixed metal oxide (ceramic) cores covered in platinum. The three wholly owned granted patents were originally filed in January 2013. The Company had previously undertaken a joint development project with Toyota examining other catalyst materials which resulted in an earlier jointly-owned patent filing, which has since gone to grant in Japan and is currently being processed in other jurisdictions.
Commenting on the patents granted, Graeme Purdy, Ilika CEO, said: "Whilst our solid-state battery programme is our key focus, our materials discovery platform is generating innovative, patentable materials with a variety of applications. The pace of innovation in the automotive industry has never been greater as companies compete to develop increasingly more energy-efficient, low emission vehicles. While electrical hybrid vehicles using battery technology have captured the largest share of the low-emission market at this point and fully battery-powered electric vehicles are also seeing strong take-up, fuel cell vehicles offer the advantage of long driving range, which justifies the development of key technologies such as low-cost, robust catalysts."