Researchers at the University of Twente have developed a new composite material that outperforms individual composites by one to two orders of magnitude. The compound consists of several abundant elements on earth, which could be used for the efficient generation of green hydrogen without rare and precious metals such as platinum.
Original Press Release:
March 27 -- Grupo Gea Perona issued the following news release:
It is a material with five transition metals that would replace platinum or iridium in electrolyzers.
Researchers at the University of Twente (UT) have developed a new composite material that outperforms individual composites by one to two orders of magnitude. The compound consists of several abundant elements on earth, which could be used for the efficient generation of green hydrogen without rare and precious metals such as platinum. The researchers published their findings in the scientific journal ACS Nano.
Green hydrogen is seen as the energy carrier of the future. Effectively, hydrogen offers a way to store (green) energy for long periods. This makes it especially important to produce it as efficiently as possible.
Water electrolysis is one of the most sustainable methods to produce green hydrogen. However, with current electrolysis methods we need a lot of rare and expensive materials, or the process is not efficient enough.
“Currently, the most efficient electrolysers contain platinum and iridium, which are needed for the electrodes where hydrogen and oxygen gas are produced from water. However, platinum and especially iridium are too rare. That is why we are constantly looking for electrode materials made from more abundant resources that can also be used as efficient and stable electrocatalysts,” explains Chris Baeumer, a UT researcher.
Baeumer and his team found exactly what they were looking for in a new material, which is a compound containing five different transition metals.
Individually, the five transition metals are only moderately active when used as catalysts. However, the researchers found that the combined activity outperformed the individual compounds by a factor of up to 680.
The higher activity is a surprise, explains Baeumer: “We expected the stability compared to traditional compounds to be improved, but when we started testing it soon turned out that the activity was also much higher. In collaboration with our partners in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Berkeley, USA, we discovered that individual transition metals can “help” each other to make the combined material better than the sum of its parts in the so-called effect. of synergy”.
Future challenges of green hydrogen
These new findings do not mean that we can directly replace all electrodes with this new material. The combination of the five different materials is complex and, until now, the activity has only been tested in a laboratory setting.
“We are comparing a newly discovered compound with materials optimized for large-scale production, which means that our new material has yet to be tested on an industrial scale. However, with some tuning and more research, this combination of transition metals has the potential to outperform currently available alternatives,” explains UT postdoc Shu Ni, who is leading these future developments for materials optimization.
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Source: Grupo Gea Perona
[Category: Metals & Mining]