Cobalt Film Produces Clean Fuel

The lab fabricated the 500-nanometer films by anodyzing a cobalt film electrodeposited on a substrate.Image: Rice University

The lab fabricated the 500-nanometer films by anodizing a cobalt film electrodeposited on a substrate.
Image: Rice University

Researchers from Rice University have discovered an efficient, robust way of drawing hydrogen and oxygen from water.

The researchers have developed a new catalyst of a cobalt-based thin film, which pumps out hydrogen and oxygen to feed fuel cells.

This from Rice University:

The inexpensive, highly porous material invented by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour may have advantages as a catalyst for the production of hydrogen via water electrolysis. A single film far thinner than a hair can be used as both the anode and cathode in an electrolysis device.

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Rutgers researchers Martha Greenblatt (left) and Chalres Dismukes (right) have developed a cost-effective energy storage technology to advance sustainable energy.Image: Nick Romaneko/Rutgers University

Rutgers researchers Martha Greenblatt (left) and Chalres Dismukes (right) have developed a cost-effective energy storage technology to advance sustainable energy.
Image: Nick Romaneko/Rutgers University

Dan Fatton, ECS Director of Development & Membership services, spotted an article in My Central Jersey that details a potential game changer in sustainable energy.

Researchers from Rutgers University may have just found the key to advancing renewable resources and potentially growing an energy infrastructure based on sustainability.

The researchers from Rutgers’ Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department have recently developed a novel patent-pending energy storage technology grounded in electrochemical science. The new technology is said to not only be cost-effective, but also a highly efficient way to store sustainable energy for later use.

The research published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science addresses the feasibility of widespread utilization of sustainable power.

“We have developed a compound, Ni5P4 (nickel-5 phosphide-4), that has the potential to replace platinum in two types of electrochemical cells: electrolyzers that make hydrogen by splitting water through hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) powered by electrical energy, and fuel cells that make electricity from combining hydrogen and oxygen,” co-author of the study Charles Dismukes explained to My Central Jersey.

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Graphene Opens Door to Better Fuel Cell

The new development provides a mechanism for engineers to design a simpler proton separation membrane.Image: Nature Communication

The new development provides a mechanism for engineers to design a simpler proton separation membrane.
Image: Nature Communication

We’ve all heard of graphene’s tremendous potential, which may be able to change the manufacturing process in many industries. The wonder material could make production faster, cheaper, and more efficient across the board.

Now, three ECS members have collaborated with other fellow scientists to develop a single layer graphene that could change the landscape of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

ECS members Robert Sacci, Sheng Dai, and Matthew Neurock are contributing authors on the recently published paper, “Aqueous proton transfer across single-layer graphene”.

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Brightman (right) and Hinds (left) have developed a novel electrode to boost green hydrogen research.Image: National Physical Laboratory

Brightman (left) and Hinds (right) have developed a novel electrode to boost green hydrogen research.
Image: National Physical Laboratory

ECS members Edward Brightman and Gareth Hinds of the National Physical Laboratory have developed a novel reference electrode that will aid in the development of hydrogen production technologies for renewable energy storage.

Both Brightman and Hinds will present their work on reference electrodes at the 227th ECS Meeting in Chicago this May. (Get an advanced look at that presentation here.)

Brightman and Hinds’ work deals with polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysers (PEMWEs), which convert electricity and water into hydrogen and oxygen using two electrodes separated by a solid polymer electrolyte. While scientists have been looking and PEMWEs as a promising technology for some time now, researchers have been stifled in utilizing them due to the expensive catalyst materials needed and the general poor understanding of the degradation of these catalysts.

Now, Brightman and Hinds have tackled this issue by finding a way to produce PEMWEs with a cost-effective design and extended lifetime. This development allows for in situ measurement of the electrochemical process at the anode and the cathode.

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Toyota is looking to propel the future of the fuel cell vehicle with the recent announcement that they will be granting royalty-free use to thousands of their patents.

“I’m happy and extremely proud to announce to you today that Toyota will grant royalty-free use of all 5,680 of our fuel cell patents, including pending patents,” said Senior Vice President of Toyota’s Automotive Operations, Bob Carter, on January 5 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The patents are to be used by companies manufacturing and selling fuel cell vehicles. Carter stated that these patents – which are critical to the development and production of fuel cells vehicles – will be available through 2020.

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Turning Hydrogen Into “Graphene”

A comparison of the basic ring structure of the carbon compound graphene with that of a similar hydrogen-based structure synthesized by Carnegie scientists.Credit: Carnegie Science

A comparison of the basic ring structure of the carbon compound graphene with that of a similar hydrogen-based structure synthesized by Carnegie scientists.
Credit: Carnegie Science

A new study shows remarkable parallels between hydrogen and graphene under extreme pressures.

The study was conducted by Carnegie’s Ivan Naumov and Russell Hemley, and can be found in the December issue of Accounts of Chemical Research.

Because of hydrogen’s simplicity and abundance, it has long been used as a testing ground for theories of the chemical bond. It is necessary to understand chemical bonding in extreme environments in order to expand our knowledge of a broad range of conditions found in the universe.

It has always been difficult for researchers to observe hydrogen’s behavior under very high pressure, until recently when teams observed the element at pressures of 2-to-3.5 million times the normal atmospheric pressure.

Under this pressure, it transforms into an unexpected structure that consists of layered sheets, rather than close-packed metal – which had been the prediction of scientists many years ago.

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Toyota’s Fuel Cell Car Unveiled

Recently, fuel cells have been the hot topic in energy discussions. In accordance with this, Toyota has introduced its first mass-market fuel cell car that will be available for purchase next month.

The company is calling the four-seat sedan Mirai, which means “future” in Japanese. The car will first go on sale in Japan on December 15th, followed by sales in the United States and Europe in the fourth quarter of 2015.

This from Reuters:

The ultimate “green car”, fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) run on electricity made by mixing hydrogen fuel and oxygen in the air – a technology first used in the Apollo moon project in the 1960s. Its only by-product is heat and water – water so pure the Apollo astronauts drank it.

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