Researchers at the University of Calgary have reported, in the journal Science, that they have developed a way to make new affordable and efficient catalysts for producing hydrogen and oxygen from water and electricity for storage and subsequent power generation.
Current electrolyzer devices use catalysts to drive a chemical reaction that converts electricity into chemical energy by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen fuels. These fuels can then be stored and re-converted to electricity for use whenever wanted. The only byproduct from such a system is water, which can be recycled through the system.
However, to date the catalysts have been made from rare, expensive and toxic metals with a crystalline structure.
The Calgary researchers have developed methods for making catalysts using abundant metal compounds or oxides – including iron oxide (rust) – to create mixed metal oxide catalysts with an amorphous, structure, which cost 1,000 times less
Laboratory tests of the new catalysts have found them to perform as well as, or even better than, the expensive catalysts now on the market,
The researchers say.that a system to store sufficient renewable for a typical house would require an electrolyzer about the size of a beer fridge, containing a few litres of water, and converting hydrogen to electricity with virtually no emissions,