A group of scientists at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have created a new water splitting catalyst that could change the way we produce hydrogen.
They call it [email protected]?N, though the marketing department has not been consulted yet. What is more important than the name is the efficiency that it offers. While not quite as efficient as platinum, the cost of fabrication is much lower.
[email protected]?N was outlined in the journal Nature Nanotechnology and according to their research this ruthenium (Ru)-based material shows and excellent catalytic performance and isn’t affected by the pH of water.
Professor Jong-Beom Baek of the Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST led the team that synthesized [email protected]?N. It has a two-dimensional organic structure, and it seems to be able to do the same job as a platinum based catalyst.
A good water splitting catalyst has to exhibit high hydrogen conversion efficiency, work under low-voltage, be durable and also economical. [email protected]?N seems to comply to those four specifications, and is the first non-noble metal catalyst to do so.
While not as efficient as platinum based catalysts, [email protected]?N has a lot of room for improvement. The costs of creating it are much lower than traditional catalysts, and this makes it a very interesting step towards commercial hydrogen technology.
“Our study not only suggests new directions in materials science, but also presents a wide range of possibilities from basic to applied science,” Comments Professor Baek. “This material is expected to attract attention in many areas thanks to its scientific potential.”
With more development, this oddly named catalyst could make a big impact of the world of low-impact energy production.