Scientists closer to cheaper hydrogen fuel

Last Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 - 09:19

Washington: Hydro­gen has unparalleled poten­tial as a low cost eco-friendly fuel, but it is expen­sive to pro­duce.

Now, researchers from Prince­ton and Rut­gers Uni­ver­sities have edged a step closer to har­ness­ing nature to pro­duce hydro­gen for us.

The team, led by Annabella Sel­l­oni, a Prince­ton chem­istry pro­fes­sor, takes inspi­ra­tion from bugs that make hydro­gen from water using enzymes called di-iron hydro­ge­nases, according to a Princeton statement.

Selloni`s team uses com­puter mod­els to fig­ure out how to incor­po­rate the magic of these enzymes into the design of prac­ti­cal syn­thetic cat­a­lysts that humans can use to pro­duce hydro­gen from water cheaply.

The cat­a­lysts designed so far are sus­cep­ti­ble to poi­son­ing by the oxy­gen present dur­ing the reac­tion. By mak­ing changes to the cat­a­lyst to improve the sta­bil­ity of the struc­ture in water, the researchers found that they had also cre­ated a cat­a­lyst that is tol­er­ant to oxy­gen with­out sac­ri­fic­ing effi­ciency.

What is more, their arti­fi­cial cat­a­lyst could be made from abun­dant and cheap com­po­nents, such as iron, indi­cat­ing that the cat­a­lyst could be a cost-effective way of pro­duc­ing hydrogen.


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First Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 - 09:19

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