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Advanced catalysts developed to aid clean hydrogen production

Hydrogen can be produced cleanly and sustainably with water electrolysis, now cheaper than ever with a newly developed catalyst.

Published Dec 11, 2021 2:00 AM CST   |   Updated Wed, Jan 5 2022 4:40 AM CST

Researchers from the Oregon State University (OSU) have shown potential for new catalysts to help cleanly produce hydrogen with greater efficiency and lower cost than currently available catalysts.

Advanced catalysts developed to aid clean hydrogen production 01 | TweakTown.com

Electrochemical catalytic processes like water electrolysis can produce hydrogen more cleanly and more sustainably than other processes such as methane-steam reforming, which produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct.

In this latest study, researchers have produced a new catalyst to facilitate hydrogen production. Catalysts are substances that increase the rate of chemical reactions without themselves undergoing any permanent chemical change. However, catalysts often undergo structural changes, whether reversible or irreversible, that can lead to a loss of catalytic activity and a subsequent reduction in reaction efficiency.

Zhenxing Feng of the OSU College of Engineering engineered a catalyst based on amorphous iridium hydroxide that exhibited 150 times greater efficiency than its original perovskite structure and efficiency close to three orders of magnitude greater than the more common commercially available iridium oxide catalyst.

"We found at least two groups of materials that undergo irreversible changes that turned out to be significantly better catalysts for hydrogen production. This can help us produce hydrogen at $2 per kilogram and eventually $1 per kilogram. That's less expensive than the polluting process in current industries and will help achieve the United States' goal of zero emissions by 2030," said Feng.

You can read more from the studies published in Science Advances and JACS Au here and here, respectively.

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NEWS SOURCES:phys.org, doi.org, doi.org

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