Carbon leads the way in clean energy
Groundbreaking research at Griffith University is leading the way in clean energy, with the use of carbon as a way to deliver energy using hydrogen.
Professor Xiangdong Yao and his team from Griffith's Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre have successfully managed to use the element to produce hydrogen from water as a replacement for the much more costly platinum.
"Despite tremendous efforts, exploring cheap, efficient and durable electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution still remains a great challenge.
"Platinum is the most active and stable electrocatalyst for this purpose, however its low abundance and consequent high cost severely limits its large-scale commercial applications.
"We have now developed this carbon-based catalyst, which only contains a very small amount of nickel and can completely replace the platinum for efficient and cost-effective hydrogen production from water.
"In our research, we synthesize a nickel-carbon-based catalyst, from carbonization of metal-organic frameworks, to replace currently best-known platinum-based materials for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution.
"This nickel-carbon-based catalyst can be activated to obtain isolated nickel atoms on the graphitic carbon support when applying electrochemical potential, exhibiting highly efficient hydrogen evolution performance and impressive durability."
Proponents of a hydrogen economy advocate hydrogen as a potential fuel for motive power including cars and boats and on-board auxiliary power, stationary power generation (e.g., for the energy needs of buildings), and as an energy storage medium (e.g., for interconversion from excess electric power generated off-peak).
Professor Yao says that this work may enable new opportunities for designing and tuning properties of electrocatalysts at atomic scale for large-scale water electrolysis.
The study will be published in Nature Communications.