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Fuel cell technology has the potential to upend the energy industry by providing an efficient, clean, powerful energy source. However, the high cost of platinum required to make fuel cells has historically hindered widespread adoption. Pajarito Powder, LLC, manufacturer of advanced engineered supports for fuel cell catalysts, licensed the world’s leading precious-metal-free fuel cell catalysts developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos). 

Technology Advancement

The Los Alamos patents lay the groundwork for future development of entirely precious-metal-free (PMF) catalysts. Pajarito Powder is producing commercial PMF catalysts that provide a near-term, low-cost solution for low and moderate power density applications, such as back-up power. Manufactured with the proprietary VariPore™ process, these PMF catalysts achieve unprecedented activity, stability, and reasonable durability under real-world operating conditions, all at material and production costs that are dramatically lower than Platinum-based catalysts.


Pajarito Powder currently employs 15 people and is growing rapidly to meet its goal to fundamentally change the economics of fuel cells by enabling better performance and greater durability at a lower cost. Pajarito Powder received an award from the Department of Energy's Small Business Vouchers pilot program to work with Los Alamos National Laboratory to test and validate their technology. Pajarito Powder is also leading a team on an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) project to create a reversible hydrogen electrode that would enable cost-effective hydrogen production and reversible fuel cells.



Jun 30, 2020

Pajarito Powder PMF catalysts achieve unprecedented activity stability and reasonable durability under real-world operating conditions all at low material and production costs that are dramatically lower than Platinum-based catalysts.

Precious-Metal-Free PMF Catalysts

Los Alamos National Laboratory
Publication Date
Mar 1, 2019
Agreement Type