A breakthrough discovery from researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison reveals a method for producing hydrogen that is both efficient and inexpensive.
It may still be a few years before you have the option to fill up on hydrogen alongside traditional gasoline, but a new breakthrough discovery from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has placed the arrival date significantly ahead of expectation. According to a report from the Engineer, the team has found a new catalyst that could significantly reduce the cost of hydrogen production.
Many people believe that hydrogen will become the fuel of the future. It is produced by separating water molecules with electricity, a process that relies on platinum and other expensive metals to operate.
The new method includes a catalyst made from phosphorus, sulphur and cobalt, which could prove to be a highly effective yet inexpensive alternative to existing methods.
Professor Song Jin, the leader of the research team that made the discovery, says that the catalyst is almost as efficient as platinum and offers the highest performance of any other catalyst they tested.
Jin’s lab has been researching inexpensive catalysts for quite some time, working with iron pyrite and other cheap, abundant materials. Jin and his colleagues uncovered the new catalyst by adding phosphorus to cobalt pyrite, after replacing the iron in the equation.
The new catalyst has an added benefit – it can run on solar power. Traditional catalysts required an electrical input to create hydrogen, but the team has demonstrated that the cobalt catalyst with solar energy works just as well.