To produce cheap hydrogen fuel will help… gelatin

We can already produce hydrogen fuel. Except there’s one problem: it is very expensive and not always energy efficient. Currently, it is the catalyst for these purposes, but platinum, which is costly. However, a group of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have found a cheap and effective new catalyst for generating hydrogen fuel from water as effectively as platinum. This catalyst does not come to light, if not ordinary gelatin.

The catalyst is composed of nano-sheets of the finest metals and fabricated using a self-Assembly process using gelatin.

“Platinum is expensive, so it would be desirable to find other alternative materials for her return,” said the study’s lead author Professor Lin Livey. “In fact, we use something similar to geltin, which you can even eat.”

A discharge of electricity may break the strong ties that bind the water molecules, creating oxygen and hydrogen, the latter of which is an extremely valuable source of energy to power hydrogen fuel cells. But just to “stick electrode in a glass of water” — a very inefficient method of producing hydrogen. Over the last 20 years scientists are looking for catalysts that can speed up this reaction in order to make it suitable for large-scale use. To create the catalyst, the researchers mixed gelatin and the metals molybdenum, tungsten and cobalt.

“When the mixture dries, she is going layer by layer. Metal ions are mixed with gelatin, so when the gelatin solidifies, the metals, “disagree”, forming thin sheets and original structure.”

Next, the mixture is heated to 600 degrees Celsius, triggers a reaction of combustion of the gelatin, leaving only thin sheets of metals. The researchers tested the effectiveness of the catalysts by placing them in water and passing through them an electric current. Mixing the ions of molybdenum with a small amount of cobalt has increased the performance.

“We found that the performance is very close to the best catalysts of platinum, which are the gold standard in this area. This means that we can replace the very expensive platinum our material, which is much cheaper.”

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