KTH researchers have opened a route to large-scale hydrogen production by discovering a better way to split water without relying on precious metals.
If a cheap, stable and efficient way could be found to produce hydrogen from water, a hydrogen-fuel economy could finally become a reality.
Scientists at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm now report that they have unlocked one major barrier to exploiting this renewable energy source.
Because the best-performing catalysts for electrochemical oxidation, or “water splitting”, are expensive precious metals, the research team led by KTH Professor Licheng Sun is one of many worldwide searching for cheaper alternatives. Sun had earlier developed molecular catalysts for water oxidation () with an efficiency approaching that of natural photosynthesis.
Last week his teamthat it has discovered that a new material composed of common earth-abundant elements could be used as a catalyst for water splitting, which could help change the economics of large scale hydrogen fuel production.