New, highly stable catalyst may help turn water into fuel

September 28, 2018 by Lois Yoksoulian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Postdoctoral researcher Jaemin Kim, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Hong Yang and graduate student Pei-Chieh (Jack) Shih are part of a team that developed a new material that helps split water molecules for hydrogen fuel production. Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

Breaking the bonds between oxygen and hydrogen in water could be a key to the creation of hydrogen in a sustainable manner, but finding an economically viable technique for this has proved difficult. Researchers report a new hydrogen-generating catalyst that clears many of the obstacles—abundance, stability in acid conditions and efficiency.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report on an electrocatalytic material made from mixing metal compounds with substance called perchloric .

Electrolyzers use electricity to break into oxygen and hydrogen. The most efficient of these devices use corrosive acids and electrode made of the metal compounds or ruthenium oxide. Iridium oxide is the more stable of the two, but iridium is one of the least abundant elements on Earth, so researchers are in search of an alternative material.

"Much of the previous work was performed with electrolyzers made from just two elements—one metal and oxygen," said Hong Yang, a co-author and professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois. "In a recent study, we found if a compound has two metal elements—yttrium and ruthenium—and oxygen, the rate of increased."

Yao Qin, a co-author and former member of Yang's group, first experimented with the procedure for making this new material by using different acids and heating temperatures to increase the rate of the water-splitting reaction.

The researchers found that when they used perchloric acid as a catalyst and let the mixture react under heat, the physical nature of the yttrium ruthenate product changed.

"The material became more porous and also had a new crystalline structure, different from all the solid catalysts we made before," said Jaemin Kim, the lead author and a postdoctoral researcher. The new porous material the team developed—a pyrochlore oxide of yttrium ruthenate—can split water molecules at a higher rate than the current industry standard.

"Because of the increased activity it promotes, a porous structure is highly desirable when it comes electrocatalysts," Yang said. "These pores can be produced synthetically with nanometer-sized templates and substances for making ceramics; however, those can't hold up under the high-temperature conditions needed for making high-quality solid catalysts."

Yang and his team looked at the structure of their new material with an electron microscope and found that it is four times more porous than the original yttrium ruthenate they developed in a previous study, and three times that of the iridium and ruthenium oxides used commercially.

"It was surprising to find that the acid we chose as a catalyst for this reaction turned out to improve the structure of the material used for the electrodes," Yang said. "This realization was fortuitous and quite valuable for us."

The next steps for the group are to fabricate a laboratory-scale device for further testing and to continue to improve the porous electrode stability in acidic environments, Yang said.

"Stability of the electrodes in acid will always be a problem, but we feel that we have come up with something new and different when compared with other work in this area," Yang said. "This type of research will be quite impactful regarding hydrogen generation for sustainable energy in the future."

Graduate student Pei-Chieh Shih, Zaid Al-Bardanand and Argonne National Laboratory researcher Cheng-Jun Sun also contributed to this research.

Explore further: A catalytic balancing act for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen

More information: Jaemin Kim et al, A Porous Pyrochlore Y2 [Ru1.6 Y0.4 ]O7-δ Electrocatalyst for Enhanced Performance towards the Oxygen Evolution Reaction in Acidic Media, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2018). DOI: 10.1002/anie.201808825

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Surveillance_Egg_Unit
2.6 / 5 (7) Sep 28, 2018
Breaking the bonds of Hydrogen and Oxygen in water is a very bad idea, even if they were able to produce a fuel from it.

There is a delicate balance in water on Earth and in Earth's atmosphere. A certain percentage remains in bodies of water on and below the surface, while some of the remainder rises to form clouds and precipitation. These effects play a large role in the changes in Weather.

To take away and transform these molecules may cause permanent damage to the Earth's equilibrium. I would strongly advise against proceeding with this research.
Parsec
5 / 5 (6) Sep 29, 2018
"Breaking the bonds of Hydrogen and Oxygen in water is a very bad idea, even if they were able to produce a fuel from it."

Dude... you are seriously deluded. Hydrogen is a fuel, and water is split into H2 and O2 literally all the time. Its is easy enough to do in your garage using a dry cell and a couple of copper electrodes. Just mix a little lye into the water, stick in the electrodes and watch the bubbles form. The efficiency isn't real good, but so what?

First rule of posting, post first, THEN smoke crack. Reversing the order makes you look profoundly stupid.
tekram
3 / 5 (2) Sep 29, 2018
Surveillance_Egg_Unit is a fossil fuel guzzling Russia troll who never contributes anything of value - Russians don't publish anything scientific anymore, just propaganda. Russia supports Trump for the simple reason that Russia oil exports have gone from $25 billion per month prior to Trump to now $38 billion per month.

One metric to look at in electrocatalysis is the TOF ( turnover frequency) which is reported in this article as 560 s-1 (at 1.5 V versus RHE). In comparison, another recent paper reported using NiCo2O4/TiO2 as electrocatalyst had reported a turnover frequency (TOF) values of 0.23 s-1(300 mV).
rrwillsj
4 / 5 (4) Sep 29, 2018
Please P,
DO NOT ENCOURAGE segue to do anything with corrosive, flammable chemicals inside a garage!

Or for that matter, within any other structure.

Many garages contain a gas-heated water tank. And whatever other dross and dreck of life he's squirreled away.

The neighbors will be grateful at any restraint upon his looney antics.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Sep 29, 2018
Thanks willis for yet another empty, pointless post.

Re the article, lots of perclorates on mars.

"Perchlorate (ClO 4 −) is widespread in Martian soils at concentrations between 0.5 and 1%"
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Sep 29, 2018
Surveillance_Egg_Unit is a fossil fuel guzzling Russia troll who never contributes anything of value
This is most likely a very persistent, very stupid, old troll.

An excerpt from one of ottos old posts circa 2013;
And you're too stupid to disguise your same identity across multiple sockpuppets for the last year or so. Pirouette the fake ufologist, Ritchieguy the fake sorghum farmer, russkiye the fake Russian, pussycat eyes the fake nurse, Obama socks the fake NASA engineer (contract). And your legion of equally fake sickpuppets. All equally transparent, all equally inane.

You claim your (fake?) bf jumped you while you were cooking butter beans naked, and posted gay porn links which got your Ritchieguy sp banned. That last iteration claimed you trade these sockpuppets among friends, before IT got banned for posting smut.
holoman
not rated yet Sep 29, 2018
Home Hydrogen Production System using Seawater.

https://www.youtu...youtu.be
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3 / 5 (4) Sep 30, 2018
But SpookyOtto - you are good at making accusations - but you never show the evidence for your accusations. Tell us all about it. There's a good twanker.

And don't forget - I have read over a 2 hundred of your old posts in physorg, so that I know that you are consistent with creating new sock puppies and they all sound like YOU even in disguise.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3 / 5 (4) Sep 30, 2018
Please P,
DO NOT ENCOURAGE segue to do anything with corrosive, flammable chemicals inside a garage!

Or for that matter, within any other structure.

Many garages contain a gas-heated water tank. And whatever other dross and dreck of life he's squirreled away.

The neighbors will be grateful at any restraint upon his looney antics.
says rrwillsj

I see that your buddy, SpookyOtto is still following your bum in physorg. That's why I gave you a 5 so that you won't feel too bad.
SiDawg
1 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2018
I was wondering the same thing (about damage caused by "destroying" water). Just because conversion happens "all the time" in nature... conceivably, if something like this ends up being common place, over billions of vehicles and commercial applications... could that not cause a problem? Perhaps that's a stupid thought given the shear quantity of water on the planet *shrug*
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2018
And don't forget - I have read over a 2 hundred of your old posts in physorg
-Thats because you've been around since 2013 as pirouette et al.

You freak.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2018
I was wondering the same thing (about damage caused by "destroying" water). Just because conversion happens "all the time" in nature... conceivably, if something like this ends up being common place, over billions of vehicles and commercial applications... could that not cause a problem? Perhaps that's a stupid thought given the shear quantity of water on the planet *shrug*
Burning H2 as fuel means recombining it with O2. Water is the result.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2018
I was wondering the same thing (about damage caused by "destroying" water). Just because conversion happens "all the time" in nature... conceivably, if something like this ends up being common place, over billions of vehicles and commercial applications... could that not cause a problem?

Since the use of the hydrogen in a fuel cell creates water again: no, there is no problem (maybe that you need to have a way to get rid of the water. If all cars dumped it just on the road that would make for potentially slippery roads. But for cars hydrogen makes little sense because of efficiency, complexity and cost issues of the infrastructure needed as opposed to battery powered vehicles)
humy
5 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2018
Breaking the bonds of Hydrogen and Oxygen in water is a very bad idea, ...

There is a delicate balance in water on Earth and in Earth's atmosphere. .... These effects play a large role in the changes in Weather.

To take away and transform these molecules may cause permanent damage to the Earth's equilibrium. I would strongly advise against proceeding with this research.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit

What are your on? HOW would breaking the bonds of Hydrogen and Oxygen in water to produce fuel for cars etc upset the "balance" of the water in the earth's atmosphere?

Even if we used it for fueling everything (which I think, for purely economic reasons, is a very bad idea), to little water vapor would be generated from its combustion and/or H-fuel cell for it to have any significant impact on climate since water vapor generated from its combustion and/or fuel cell use would be always dwarf from that from other sources such as from oceans, forests etc.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2018
We could always mandate that the user needs to catch the water vapor and only release it as liquid water.

H2 release through inadequately tight valves or breaks in the lines would be an issue, though. Over large scale home use (read: largely unregulated/checked) use that could easily add up. Better reserve the use of hydrogen to central facilities that can have adequate safeguards in place (large grid energy storage/emergency energy reserves, shipping, airplanes)

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