A team at Stanford University has come up with a low-cost method of producing hydrogen and oxygen from water.
“We have developed a low-voltage, single-catalyst water splitter that continuously generates hydrogen and oxygen for more than 200 hours, an exciting world-record performance,” said photon scientist Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, who co-authored a project report published last week in the journal Nature Communications.
“Our group has pioneered the idea of using lithium-ion batteries to search for catalysts,” Cui said. “Our hope is that this technique will lead to the discovery of new catalysts for other reactions beyond water splitting.”
Stanford News notes that scientists have been looking for a cheap, efficient way to extract commercial-grade hydrogen from water, rather than deriving it from natural gas.
“Our water splitter is unique because we only use one catalyst, nickel-iron oxide, for both electrodes,” said lead author Haotian Wang, a Stanford grad student.
“This bi-functional catalyst can split water continuously for more than a week with a steady input of just 1.5 volts of electricity. That’s an unprecedented water-splitting efficiency of 82% at room temperature.” (h/t to @don_pittis, @CBCNews, for pointing us to this story)