Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have come up with a unique catalyst at nanoscale proportions that will produce hydrogen from water with the help of solar energy.
According to the University, “The latest research is the outcome of 14 years of fundamental research by Associate Professor Metha’s research group investigating the synthesis and properties of metal nanoparticles and how they work as catalysts at the molecular level.
“The group works with metal ‘clusters’ of about one-quarter of a nanometre in size – less than 10 atoms. Associate Professor Metha said these tiny ‘magic clusters’ act as super-efficient catalysts. Catalysts drive chemical reactions, reducing the amount of energy required.”
According to Associate Professor Metha, “We’ve discovered ways of producing these tiny metallic clusters, we’ve explored their fundamental chemical activity, and now we are applying their catalytic properties to reactions which have great potential benefit for industrial use and the environment.”
The university is being a bit coy as they haven’t revealed the composition of these “metal cluster” or the process of making them or the process of using them in conjunction with solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Perhaps it’s too early in the process to be giving away too many details or there is proprietary information involved or patents have yet to be filed for the protection of this newest hydrogen fuel producing invention.
No matter the reason, the overview of the process sounds like the research on direct solar to hydrogen production around the world is making new progress every week (just check out the Stanford blog post from 2 days ago). And this is very encouraging indeed.