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Pajarito Powder Catalyzes Green Energy Innovation with $20M DOE Grant


Robert Tavares

March 27, 2024 - 04:01 am


Pajarito Powder Achieves Major Breakthrough with DOE's $20 Million Boost

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 27, 2024 - Innovative catalyst technologies are poised to transform the renewable energy sector, and a pivotal shift has begun with the recent announcement that Pajarito Powder, LLC, a trailblazing U.S. company specializing in catalyst development, has received a significant financial boost. The firm is now the recipient of two remarkable $10 million awards from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This funding will propel the production and cost reduction of advanced catalysts, which are critical for more affordable fuel cells and sustainable hydrogen production, amplifying green technology capabilities.

Harnessing Lower-Cost Catalysts for Commercial Viability

One of the two funded initiatives is focused on revolutionizing the cost efficiency of fuel cell catalysts. Pajarito Powder is set to spearhead this project in collaboration with an assembly of esteemed partners: Brookhaven National Laboratory, automotive giant General Motors Co., researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Strategic Analysis, Inc. Additionally, several national laboratory researchers will be contributing to the project under the Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck Consortium banner. This endeavor also garners local support from the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, UNM's STEM-H Center, and the New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD).

Thomas J. Stephenson, the CEO and chairman of the board at Pajarito Powder, highlights the pivotal role hydrogen plays in the decarbonization of transportation. Stephenson believes that, with more economical catalysts, fuel cells will become financially feasible for larger, energy-demanding vehicles. The project aims to meet DOE's objectives of championing domestic, commercial-scale production of fuel cell catalysts and components.

This collaborative effort aims to enhance the production of carbon supports, along with platinum and platinum alloy catalysts, which should result in a sizable reduction in the costs of carbon-supported catalysts. These advancements are anticipated to lead to lower-priced, commercially viable fuel cells with improved performance.

Innovation for Sustainable Green Hydrogen

In conjunction with the fuel cell initiative, Pajarito Powder is also engaged in a project aimed at refining green hydrogen catalysts. In this venture, the company collaborates with the renowned Auris Noble and Nel Hydrogen, targeting a significant increase in catalysts supply. The objective is to dramatically lessen the iridium quantity necessary for proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis, a crucial process in green hydrogen production. The project will also involve the same community partners: UNM, UNM's STEM-H Center, and the New Mexico EDD while drawing expertise from the national laboratory sphere via the H2NEW Consortium.

Dr. Michele Ostraat, the chief operating officer of Pajarito Powder and the principal investigator overseeing both projects, emphasizes the monumental progress for the company. Ostraat outlines an ambitious plan of action, including staffing expansions, equipment enhancements, system installations, and accelerated company growth, all designed to align and further the objectives shared with the DOE. The execution of this plan signifies an essential leap forward in cultivating a thriving green hydrogen ecosystem within New Mexico.

One of the technological milestones achieved by Pajarito Powder involves engineered PEM catalysts, which have significantly diminished the dependency on iridium for green hydrogen production by a range of 14 to 60 percent. This reduction not only makes the precious metal go further but also substantially curtails the cost of producing green hydrogen.

Expanding New Mexico's Manufacturing Footprint

Earlier this year, Pajarito Powder inaugurated a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Albuquerque. This new center of innovation and production is equipped to produce hydrogen fuel cell catalysts at a rate 200 times greater than previous capabilities. Additionally, it boasts the capacity for producing green hydrogen catalysts at an impressive rate of 100 times the former output, marking a significant step in the renewable energy sector.

About the Catalyst Leader: Pajarito Powder

Rooted in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Pajarito Powder has cemented its position as a global frontrunner in the realm of advanced electrocatalysts for fuel cells and electrolyzers. The company's portfolio reveals a variety of catalyst products born from its proprietary innovations alongside intellectually licensed properties from the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique.

These catalysts have been designed for incorporation in proton exchange membrane (PEM) and anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzers as well as PEM fuel cells. With the elevated performance, enhanced stability, and improved durability of Pajarito Powder materials, our utilization of platinum group metal (PGM) components is setting new benchmarks for effectiveness.

Pajarito Powder's journey has been propelled by the backing of venture capital funds, notably from Bekaert, Hyundai Motor Company, Verge Fund, Omphalos Venture Partners, and other private investors. Formidable foundations have also been laid with crucial support from entities like the New Mexico Economic Development Department, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, and the City of Albuquerque. The synergy between public support and private investment demonstrates a united drive towards sustainable energy solutions and a commitment to economic development within innovative industries.

Further Information and Communications Contact

For those seeking additional insights or interested in learning more, Pajarito Powder invites inquiries and discussion. Jeff Plungis, Senior Advisor at Scott Fosgard Communications, is available for contact and will be pleased to provide further information. He can be reached at 202-744-9768 or by email via [email protected].

Pajarito Powder expresses gratitude for the recognition and support offered by the DOE, which will undeniably accelerate the advent of green technologies. This initiative stands as a testament to the shared vision of a cleaner, more sustainable planet through the advancement of renewable energy solutions.

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Pajarito Powder is deeply indebted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for this support, underscoring the federal commitment to advancing breakthrough technologies in the sustainable energy arena.

This news article covers the advancements of Pajarito Powder in its quest to revolutionize the efficiency and cost of catalyst production, marking a pivotal moment in the progression towards greener and more sustainable energy solutions. The dual $10 million awards from the DOE serve as a catalyst themselves, accelerating the company's growth and the wider adoption of fuel cells and green hydrogen production. With strategic partnerships, innovative approaches, and an expanding facility in Albuquerque, Pajarito Powder is set to make waves in the energy sector and contribute to a more sustainable future.


As Pajarito Powder marches ahead with its groundbreaking endeavors, the company's efforts are poised to make a considerable impact on both the local economy of New Mexico and the global landscape of clean energy technologies. The integration of their advanced catalysts into the fuel cell and electrolyzer markets is not only a stride toward green energy but also an initiative that reiterates the importance of strategic collaboration and governmental support in making the leap toward a decarbonized world.

The dual projects funded by the DOE encapsulate a vision of progress and innovation – a future where the commercial success of larger vehicles powered by fuel cells becomes a reality, and the advancements in green hydrogen production render it an economical and sustainable energy source. As Pajarito Powder amplifies its production capacity and refines its technologies, it solidifies its role as a pivotal player in the green revolution.

[Source: Pajarito Powder]

Pajarito Powder thanks its collaborators and the U.S. Department of Energy for the trust and investment that facilitate the advancement of sustainable energy technologies. As it embeds its developments in the fabric of renewable energy, Pajarito Powder forges a path for a greener tomorrow and demonstrates the power of collaboration and innovation in tackling global energy challenges.

This article is a Pajarito Powder authorized publication.