A team of researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley has discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can generate hydrogen gas from water.

According to Hemamala Karunadasa, the lead author of a paper in Nature describing the work, "Our new proton reduction catalyst is based on a molybdenum-oxo metal complex that is about 70 times cheaper than platinum, today’s most widely used metal catalyst for splitting the water molecule. In addition, our catalyst does not require organic additives, and can operate in neutral water, even if it is dirty, and can operate in sea water, the most abundant source of hydrogen on earth and a natural electrolyte. These qualities make our catalyst ideal for renewable energy and sustainable chemistry."