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Reducing the Cost of Hydrogen Production

NSF Award:

Novel Catalyst Supports for Water Electrolysis: Experimental and Theoretical Studies  (University of Pittsburgh)

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Improved hydrogen fuel cells will extend their application in hybrid vehicles as well as electric fuel cell-driven ones. However, to make these fuel cells practical, new methods are needed to produce, store and transport the hydrogen.

The process normally used to obtain hydrogen from water--electrolysis--is quite costly. It also requires a large amount of electricity and uses expensive materials such as electrocatalysts. Now, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a more efficient catalyst that could reduce the cost of carbon-free hydrogen production. 

P.N. Kumta and co-workers synthesized and characterized a novel family of electrocatalysts, demonstrating high electrocatalytic activity with low production cost. The newly developed catalyst uses less expensive materials than the traditional noble metal oxide catalyst. This class of materials could offer a practical solution to hydrogen production and ease the worldwide need for complex energy storage.

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  • noble metal oxide electrocatalyst shows smooth mud crack structure for optimal performance
Noble metal oxide electrocatalyst doped with fluorine.
Prashant N. Kumta, University of Pittsburgh

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