GridShift, a Khosla Ventures 'Green Portfolio' company, has developed a new water electrolysis technique that can produce hydrogen at a cost of $2.51 per kilogram.

This new technology is half the cost of current hydrogen production and effectively makes hydrogen a more affordable alternative than gasoline at an equivalent cost of $2.70 per gallon of gasoline, the company claims.

GridShift said that it uses a new catalyst comprised of readily available nano-particles, reducing catalyst costs by up to 97%. Platinum is the most often used catalyst for electrolysis based hydrogen generation, but at a cost of over $1700 an ounce, it becomes prohibitive at scale. This newly developed catalyst costs $58 an ounce.

GridShift further claims that the new method for hydrogen generation produces four times more hydrogen per electrode surface area than what is currently reported for commercial units today. This means that an electrolysis unit using the GridShift method will produce at least four times more fuel in the same sized machine, or require a unit four times smaller than normal to make the same amount of hydrogen.

Aside from hydrogen at a fueling station, GridShift’s hydrogen-producing method allows for a wide range of industrial and vehicle applications. These applications include ammonia production, hydrogenation of lighter hydrocarbons, home fuel sources for fuel cell vehicles, load-leveling applications with wind and solar installation, efficiency improvement of ICE and more.

Robert Dopp, CEO of GridShift, said: “Hydrogen is a critical piece of America’s future renewable energy policy. Our new water electrolysis process generates carbon neutral hydrogen that is cheaper than gasoline at a fraction of the cost and size of currently available water electrolysis hydrogen generators. We are now on the path to a truly viable hydrogen fueled future.”

GridShift said that the key to its new process is a new method for coating a complex three-dimensionally shaped electrode on all surfaces with a combination of nano catalysts that expose the catalysts to the electrolyte for efficient water electrolysis reactions and is robust enough to withstand the rigors of electrolysis.

Future research for GridShift’s electrolyzer includes the development of an alkaline fuel cell based on the same design.