A cheap and effective new catalyst developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, can generate hydrogen fuel from water just as efficiently as platinum, currently the best — but also most expensive — water-splitting catalyst out there.
The catalyst, which is composed of nanometer-thin sheets of metal carbide, is manufactured using a self-assembly process that relies on a surprising ingredient: gelatin, the material that gives Jell-O its jiggle.
“Platinum is expensive, so it would be desirable to find other alternative materials to replace it,” said senior author Liwei Lin, professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley. “We are actually using something similar to the Jell-O that you can eat as the foundation, and mixing it with some of the abundant earth elements to create an inexpensive new material for important catalytic reactions.”
The work appears in the Dec. 13 print edition of the journal Advanced Materials.
A zap of electricity can break apart the strong bonds that tie water molecules together, creating oxygen and hydrogen gas, the latter of which is an extremely valuable source of energy for powering hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen gas can also be used to help store energy from renewable yet intermittent energy sources like solar and wind power, which produce excess electricity when the sun shines or when the wind blows, but which go dormant on rainy or calm days.
But simply sticking an electrode in a glass of water is an extremely inefficient method of generating hydrogen gas. For the past 20 years, scientists have been searching for catalysts that can speed up this reaction, making it practical for large-scale use.
“The traditional way of using water gas to generate hydrogen still dominates in industry. However, this method produces carbon dioxide as byproduct,” said first author Xining Zang, who conducted the research as a graduate student in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley. “Electrocatalytic hydrogen generation is growing in the past decade, following the global demand to lower emissions. Developing a highly efficient and low-cost catalyst for electrohydrolysis will bring profound technical, economical and societal benefit.”
To create the catalyst, the researchers followed a recipe nearly as simple as making Jell-O from a box. They mixed gelatin and a metal ion — either molybdenum, tungsten or cobalt — with water, and then let the mixture dry.
“We believe that as gelatin dries, it self-assembles layer by layer,” Lin said. “The metal ion is carried by the gelatin, so when the gelatin self-assembles, your metal ion is also arranged into these flat layers, and these flat sheets are what give Jell-O its characteristic mirror-like surface.”
Heating the mixture to 600 degrees Celsius triggers the metal ion to react with the carbon atoms in the gelatin, forming large, nanometer-thin sheets of metal carbide. The unreacted gelatin burns away.
The researchers tested the efficiency of the catalysts by placing them in water and running an electric current through them. When stacked up against each other, molybdenum carbide split water the most efficiently, followed by tungsten carbide and then cobalt carbide, which didn’t form thin layers as well as the other two. Mixing molybdenum ions with a small amount of cobalt boosted the performance even more.
“It is possible that other forms of carbide may provide even better performance,” Lin said.
The Latest on: Hydrogen fuel catalyst
via Google News
The Latest on: Hydrogen fuel catalyst
- Compressing hydrogen electrochemicallyon April 30, 2021 at 9:00 pm
Kaji Technology Corp. (Osaka; and Toray Industries, Inc. (Tokyo, both Japan; have jointly completed developing and demonstrating an electrochemical hydrogen pump system earlier Kaji Technology and ...
- The Wired Brand Lab Guide to Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicleson April 30, 2021 at 6:38 am
As the inexorable transition from gasoline to fully electric transportation cruises on, vehicles running on hydrogen are demonstrating that electric power is ready to step up to whatever challenges ...
- Hydrogen aviation projected to be worth $174bn by 2040on April 30, 2021 at 4:34 am
The hydrogen aircraft market is projected to reach around $174bn by 2040 according to Gediminas Ziemelis, Chairman of the Board at Avia Solutions. Hydrogen has been touted as the future for aviation ...
- Nuclear Reactors Could Provide Plentiful Zero-Carbon Hydrogen, If Only We Let Themon April 29, 2021 at 3:00 am
Hydrogen's dirty secret is that most of it is produced with a high carbon footprint. Nuclear power can fix that.
- Chairman of the Board of Avia Solutions Group Gediminas Ziemelis: The market, anticipated to reach $174.02 billion by 2040 - hydrogen aircrafton April 29, 2021 at 2:00 am
These factors, associated with hydrogen as aviation fuel, are expected to drive the growth of the global hydrogen aircraft market over the years to reach the anticipated value of $27.68 billion in ...
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Market Is Set to Experience a Revolutionary Growth : BMW, MAN, Ballard Power Systems, Hondaon April 28, 2021 at 1:09 pm
Stay up-to-date with Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Market research offered by HTF MI. Check how key trends and emerging drivers are shaping this industry growth.
- Stocks To Watch This Week? 4 Hydrogen Stocks In Focuson April 27, 2021 at 9:30 am
This story originally appeared on StockMarket Focus On Climate Crisis Put These Hydrogen Stocks In The Limelight. While clean energy development has picked up steam recently, prac ...
- Hyzon Motors Announces Partnership with Raven SR to Build Waste-to-Hydrogen Hubson April 27, 2021 at 4:33 am
ROCHESTER, N.Y. and PINEDALE, Wyo., April 27, 2021/ PRNewswire/-- Hyzon Motors Inc., a leading global supplier of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles, today announced a ...
- The Hydrogen Stream: Offshore hydrogen pipeline and more electrolysis capacity in Germanyon April 27, 2021 at 3:19 am
Big German conglomerates such as Siemens, RWE and Vattenfall keep pushing for green hydrogen development through different projects. Germany's first offshore hydrogen pipeline is being planned by RWE ...
- JetBlue Technology Ventures Invests in Universal Hydrogen to Support the Airline’s Ambitious Sustainability Strategyon April 22, 2021 at 10:08 am
JetBlue Technology Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of JetBlue Airways, today announced its investment in Universal Hydrogen, the company fueling carbon- free flight, as part of its $20.5 M ...
via Bing News