Due to its storage capacity, hydrogen has an enormous potential in the clean energy industry. Unfortunately, it is very hard to “master”: only setting apart single atoms costs a fortune! Luckily for us, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory succeeded in splitting hydrogen molecules ten times faster, which is a lot cleaner and less expensive process.
The way scientists were going about it so far was by using only a platinum catalyst, but the Argonne researchers added nickel-hydroxide to the platinum catalyst normally used in water-splitting devices and found out that it could break the hydrogen-oxygen bond much easier than if they had used only platinum.
This success comes in at a very good time, since the Lab closely escaped funding cuts in April. Moreover, the Office of Science managed to receive a $4.9 billion budget for 2012, almost as much as it had asked for in the beginning.
So we guess the future’s looking good for the Argonne National Laboratory and for the hydrogen industry, as its development is closely linked to the dream of fueling cars with pure energy that doesn’t pollute the environment in any way.