Hydrogen gas offers one of the most promising sustainable energy alternatives to limited fossil fuels. But traditional methods of producing pure hydrogen face significant challenges in unlocking its full potential, either by releasing harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or requiring rare and expensive chemical elements such as platinum.
Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new electrocatalyst that addresses one of these problems by generating hydrogen gas from water cleanly and with much more affordable materials. The novel form of catalytic nickel-molybdenum-nitride -- described in a paper published online May 8, 2012 in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition -- surprised scientists with its high-performing nanosheet structure, introducing a new model for effective hydrogen catalysis.
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