Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Technology produces clean-burning hydrogen fuel cheaply using carbon nanotubes

Date:
July 14, 2014
Source:
Rutgers University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a technology that could overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel -- a fuel that could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels. The new technology is a novel catalyst that performs almost as well as cost-prohibitive platinum for so-called electrolysis reactions, which use electric currents to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The Rutgers technology is also far more efficient than less-expensive catalysts investigated to-date.

A new technology based on carbon nanotubes promises commercially viable hydrogen production from water.
Credit: Tewodros Asefa

Rutgers researchers have developed a technology that could overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel -- a fuel that could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels.

A new technology based on carbon nanotubes promises commercially viable hydrogen production from water.

The new technology is a novel catalyst that performs almost as well as cost-prohibitive platinum for so-called electrolysis reactions, which use electric currents to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The Rutgers technology is also far more efficient than less-expensive catalysts investigated to-date.

"Hydrogen has long been expected to play a vital role in our future energy landscapes by mitigating, if not completely eliminating, our reliance on fossil fuels," said Tewodros (Teddy) Asefa, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology in the School of Arts and Sciences. "We have developed a sustainable chemical catalyst that, we hope with the right industry partner, can bring this vision to life."

Asefa is also an associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the School of Engineering.

He and his colleagues based their new catalyst on carbon nanotubes -- one-atom-thick sheets of carbon rolled into tubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Finding ways to make electrolysis reactions commercially viable is important because processes that make hydrogen today start with methane -- itself a fossil fuel. The need to consume fossil fuel therefore negates current claims that hydrogen is a "green" fuel.

Electrolysis, however, could produce hydrogen using electricity generated by renewable sources, such as solar, wind and hydro energy, or by carbon-neutral sources, such as nuclear energy. And even if fossil fuels were used for electrolysis, the higher efficiency and better emissions controls of large power plants could give hydrogen fuel cells an advantage over less efficient and more polluting gasoline and diesel engines in millions of vehicles and other applications.

In a recent scientific paper published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Asefa and his colleagues reported that their technology, called "noble metal-free nitrogen-rich carbon nanotubes," efficiently catalyze the hydrogen evolution reaction with activities close to that of platinum. They also function well in acidic, neutral or basic conditions, allowing them to be coupled with the best available oxygen-evolving catalysts that also play crucial roles in the water-splitting reaction.

The researchers have filed for a patent on the catalyst, which is available for licensing or research collaborations through the Rutgers Office of Technology Commercialization. The National Science Foundation funded the research.

Asefa, an expert in inorganic and materials chemistry, joined the Rutgers faculty in 2009 after four years as an assistant professor at Syracuse University. Originally from Ethiopia, he is a resident of Montgomery Township, N.J. In addition to catalysis and nanocatalysis, his research interests include novel inorganic nanomaterials and nanomaterials for biological, medical biosensing and solar cell applications.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiaoxin Zou, Xiaoxi Huang, Anandarup Goswami, Rafael Silva, Bhaskar R. Sathe, Eliška Mikmekovα, Tewodros Asefa. Cobalt-Embedded Nitrogen-Rich Carbon Nanotubes Efficiently Catalyze Hydrogen Evolution Reaction at All pH Values. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2014; 53 (17): 4372 DOI: 10.1002/anie.201311111

Cite This Page:

Rutgers University. "Technology produces clean-burning hydrogen fuel cheaply using carbon nanotubes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140714104100.htm>.
Rutgers University. (2014, July 14). Technology produces clean-burning hydrogen fuel cheaply using carbon nanotubes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140714104100.htm
Rutgers University. "Technology produces clean-burning hydrogen fuel cheaply using carbon nanotubes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140714104100.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) — A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) — Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins