Science. A game-changer for clean hydrogen production


Madrid, 20 (European Press)

A new, cheaper and more efficient electrocatalyst is capable of producing green hydrogen from water, a technology that could open new horizons for large-scale clean energy production.

Scientists generally use precious metal catalysts, such as platinum, to speed up the reaction of cracking water into hydrogen and oxygen. Now, research from Curtin University has found that adding nickel and cobalt to previously cheaper and ineffective catalysts improves their performance, reduces the energy needed to split water and increases hydrogen production.

Lead researcher Dr Guohua Jia, of the Curtin School of Molecular and Life Sciences, said the discovery, which was published in Nano Energy, could have far-reaching implications for the sustainable generation of green fuels in the future.

“Our research mainly consists of taking 2D iron-sulfur nanocrystals, which generally do not act as catalysts for the electrically driven reaction that gets hydrogen from water, and adding small amounts of nickel and cobalt ions. And when we did that, it completely converted the low iron and sulfur productivity into an efficient and effective catalyst.”

“Using this more abundant material is cheaper and more efficient than the current reference material, ruthenium oxide, which is derived from the element ruthenium and is expensive.

“Our findings not only expand the current ‘panel’ of possible particle combinations, but also offer a new and effective catalyst that may be useful in other applications.

“It also opens up new avenues for future research in the energy sector, placing Australia at the forefront of clean and renewable energy research and applications.”

Jia said the next steps would be to expand and test the team’s work on a larger scale to test its commercial viability.

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