New catalyst cuts the cost of hydrogen production
Australian scientists have succeeded in replacing the expensive catalyst material platinum with nickel and iron, thereby cutting the cost of water splitting.22 Jan 2020 Roland Freist
Up until now, electrodes made from the precious metal platinum or from platinum metals have been used to produce hydrogen from water by catalysis – an expensive procedure. Scientists at Griffith University in Queensland and Swinburne University of Technology have now developed a new catalyst made from the much cheaper materials iron and nickel. According to an article in the journal ‘Nature Communications’ , the catalyst is characterized by high energy efficiency and a high water-splitting speed. It also proves highly suitable for the production of oxygen.
As project leader Professor Chuan Zhao explains, the nickel-iron catalyst has a nanoscale interface where the two metals meet at the atomic level. This interface fundamentally changes the properties of the materials. As a result, nickel and iron, which in themselves are not well suited for hydrogen catalysis, can be as active as platinum.
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