TANAKA Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K., which operates an industrial precious metals business as a core company of TANAKA Precious Metals, signed a technical assistance agreement with Chengdu Guangming Paite Precious Metal Co., Ltd., an affiliated company in China, in the area of fuel cell electrode catalyst manufacturing technologies. TANAKA Kikinzoku Kogyo aims to use this agreement to meet the growing domestic demand for fuel cell electrode catalysts in China.
Electrode catalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEFCs)
As part of the agreement, production equipment will be installed at the plant of Ya’an Guangming Paite Precious Metal Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Chengdu Guangming Paite Precious Metal, with plans to start full-scale production in the summer of 2024. The companies also plan to start production of fuel cell electrode catalysts for the Chinese market by the end of 2025.
TANAKA’s FC Catalyst Development Center, within its Shonan Plant, is currently developing and manufacturing electrode catalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEFCs) and polymer electrolyte water electrolysis (PEWE). The company sells highly active, highly durable platinum catalysts and platinum alloy catalysts for PEFC cathodes, highly CO-tolerant platinum alloy catalysts and OER catalysts for PEFC anodes, and iridium oxide catalysts for PEWE anodes.
One major issue facing the full-scale use of fuel cells is the cost of the platinum they use. TANAKA has been researching precious metal catalysts for more than 40 years, resulting in the development of catalysts that use smaller amounts of precious metals while achieving high performance and high durability. By studying new carrier materials and catalyst post-processing methods and producing more active metal species, the company is currently developing catalysts that are even more suitable for use in fuel cells.
In China, government policy continues to drive the development of hydrogen energy and FCVs as strategic industries. The Chinese government is implementing a range of support measures to promote research and development and the expanded use of fuel cell battery technologies. It is also driving the development and adoption of FCVs through subsidies, tax incentives, and other efforts. With other measures, including the development of hydrogen supply infrastructure in cities and along major traffic routes, the country’s fuel cell market is expected to grow even further going forward.