Scientists have identified ways to make production of hydrogen fuel by splitting water more cost-effective and efficient.
Researchers from University of Arkansas and Argonne National Lab in the US showed that nanoparticles composed of nickel and iron are better alternatives than more costly materials when used as catalysts.
The team demonstrated that using nanocatalysts composed of nickel and iron increases the efficiency of water electrolysis, the process of breaking water atoms apart to produce hydrogen and oxygen and combining them with electrons to create hydrogen gas.
When nanoparticles composed of an iron and nickel shell around a nickel core are applied to the process, they interact with the hydrogen and oxygen atoms to weaken the bonds, increasing the efficiency of the reaction by allowing the generation of oxygen more easily, researchers said.
Nickel and iron are also less expensive than other catalysts, which are made from scarce materials.
This marks a step toward making water electrolysis a more practical and affordable method for producing hydrogen fuel. Current methods of water electrolysis are too energy-intensive to be effective.
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