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A new catalyst for hydrogen production from water has been developed in China

2019-06-10


Hydrogen energy is a kind of high energy, clean and renewable energy. The low cost and high efficiency hydrogen production by electrolysis of water is one of the hot spots in international research. Recently, Professor Song Li and Professor Jiang Jun from the University of Science and Technology of China collaborated to design a platinum catalyst with a "pine cone structure", which reduced the platinum consumption to about 1/75 of that of traditional commercial catalysts without changing the hydrogen production effect. The research results were recently published in the internationally renowned academic journal Nature Energy.

Hydrogen is considered the "ultimate energy source," and electrolysis of water is one of the most promising ways to prepare it. Catalysts are needed in the process of water electrolysis, but in the catalytic process, atoms are "busy and idle" phenomenon: the surface atoms of the platinum catalyst are mainly involved in the reaction, while the platinum atoms in the inner layer are "idle", resulting in a waste of resources and high cost.

Recently, University of Science and Technology of China researchers came up with a solution. They took the previously flat catalyst and made it into spherical "pinecones", placing the platinum atoms on the surface of the "pinecones", ensuring that they were all in the "production line". Thus, the previous two - dimensional plane reaction is transformed into a three - dimensional reaction.

The results showed that the efficiency of hydrogen formation was greatly increased when the reactants in the electrolytic solution passed through the "pine-shaped" catalyst. For the same amount of hydrogen to be produced, the new catalyst requires only about 75 times as much platinum as conventional commercial catalysts, greatly reducing the cost of hydrogen production.

It is understood that this study also deepens the understanding of the relationship between catalyst performance and structure, and points out the direction for further optimization of catalyst performance.



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