New Catalyst for Hydrogen Generation

Scientists at UC Berkley have discovered a new Molybdenum based catalyst which can generate hydrogen from neutral buffer water as well as sea water. As we all know that hydrogen as a fuel provides a clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Hydrogen combustion does not produce any CO2 and the fuel can be generated by just splitting apart the water molecule by using a catalyst such as Platinum. Only issue with the use of Platinum is that it’s very expensive for the method to become commercially viable. Alternatively, hydrogenase enzymes having Iron and Nickel based protein have been used which generate hydrogen by catalytic action. But again these enzymes are bulky and very unstable in ambient conditions and thus calls for the need of a catalyst which is cheap , robust and effective in hydrogen generation.This new Molybdenum-oxo catalyst (PY5 group) can provide solution to these issues as the scientists report in the article which is going to be published in tomorrow’s issue of Nature.

According to the article, “We now report a simple molybdenum-oxo complex that catalyses the generation of hydrogen from neutral buffered water or even sea water with a turnover frequency of 2.4 moles of H2 per mole of catalyst per second and a turnover number of 6.13105 moles of H2 per mole of catalyst. This metal-oxo complex represents a distinct molecular motif for reduction catalysis that has high activity and stability in water.”

Source: Nature, Krunadasa et. al. Nature 464, 1329-1333 (29 April 2010)

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