CM Venture invests in Dynamic Hydrogen, creator of breakthrough low-iridium catalyst tech

September 8, 2023

The world’s limited supply of Iridium is insufficient to support the PEM hydrolyzers needed to drive the green hydrogen economy

As part of our New Energy focus, CM Venture welcomes Beijing Dynamic Hydrogen as the latest startup to join our Fund 3 portfolio. This is our second hydrogen-related portfolio company, after our investment in Guofu Hydrogen’s A-round in 2018.

The startup’s core technology is a low iridium (Ir) PEM catalyst used in water electrolysis hydrogen production. Lab results have shown a very low Ir loading of 0.35 mgIr/cm2 mg, and a high current density of 1.7V@2A/cm2. This is world-leading, as it is almost 6 times more efficient than mainstream PEM hydrolyzers rated at 2 mgIr/cm2.

PEM hydrolyzers are essential for the creation of green hydrogen, and low-Ir PEM catalysts are critical to help reduce PEM hydrolyzer costs. This is due to the need for Iridium, a very rare element. The world’s limited supply of Iridium is insufficient to support the PEM hydrolyzers needed to drive the green hydrogen economy.

Iridium (Ir) has a very low occurrence of just 0.000003 parts/million in the earth’s crust. Only 9 tons are mined per year, most of which already are reserved for existing applications. It’s why low iridium/iridium-free oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts are preferred for PEM hydrolyzers.

With aggressive global hydrogen demands growing to support new energy policies, Bejing Dynamic Hydrogen’s breakthrough technology can dramatically accelerate the realization of global green hydrogen targets.

Founded in 2023 in Beijing, Dynamic Hydrogen’s technical founders, Guo, Shaojun and Lv Fan, combine many years of experience in catalyst R&D in the field of PEM water electrolysis for hydrogen production, with a focus on catalyst materials & Catalyst-Coated Membranes (CCM). Another core founder, Zheng, Tianyou, brings 10 years of experience in corporate strategy development and startup management.

CM Venture is the sole seed investor, with an investment of 9 million RMB to allow the startup to establish its own facility, build a test line, hire an initial team for CCM production and start sampling customers. The company also plans to raise its pre-A round in 2024.

Dynamic Hydrogen has strong technical strength, with relevant research over a decade. The low-Iridium PEM catalyst used by Dynamic Hydrogen is based on years of research by Prof. Guo Shaojun of Peking University, who has over 10 years of research experience in catalysts. He has published more than 200 academic papers in high-impact journals such as Nature, Science, and NCS series as corresponding author. His papers have been cited 65,000 times (h-index of 136) and he was named a “Global Highly Cited Scholar” for nine consecutive years.

According to BloombergNEF, the energy value of global electrolyzer shipments were 460MW in 2021, 1.2GW in 2022, and will exceed 3GW in 2023. China’s electrolyzer shipments accounted for more than 50% of the world’s market share.

With no dominant PEM electrolyzer manufacturers in China currently and with the industrial chain in its early stages, startups – such as Beijing Dynamic Hydrogen – in this area have a precious window of opportunity to crack the market.


A background on global policy support on green hydrogen energy

  • EU plans to reach renewable hydrogen energy capacity of 10 million tons per year by 2030.
  • U.S. plans to achieve 10 million Metric Tons/Year of Green Hydrogen Capacity by 2030.
  • China’s green hydrogen project bids are surging: in the first half of 2023, a total of 14 electrolyzer bidding projects were announced, with a total winning bid volume of 848MW, exceeding the entire 2022 annual shipment volume.
  • Countries in the Gulf region launched ambitious green hydrogen targets: Saudi Arabia aims to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tons per year by 2030 and achieve “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2060. In 2021, the UAE adopted a “Hydrogen Leadership Roadmap” with a goal of capturing a 25% share of the global low-carbon hydrogen market by 2030. Oman targets generating 1GW of clean hydrogen (green & blue hydrogen) by 2025, 10GW by 2030, and 30GW by 2040, to become the world’s leading hydrogen producer/exporter.