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Researchers in India Using Iron and Cobalt to Create Hydrogen

On April 03, 2013 I asked if iron is the new platinum. Researchers at the University of Calgary and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory seem to think so. Both are using iron in place of platinum for chemical reactions involving hydrogen.

Researchers at the University of Calgary are even using an iron and cobalt combination to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Now, researchers out of India are doing something similar with iron and cobalt.

According to the Times of India, “Dey and his team at the IACS department of inorganic chemistry have shown in two different studies that hydrogen can be generated from water in a considerable amount, using two different metals, cobalt and iron, to speed up the reaction …

“…For the first study published in the American Chemical Society’s Inorganic Chemistry journal this year, the Kolkata team, in collaboration with a research group in Israel led by Zeev Gross, came up with a new cobalt-based catalyst to boost the reaction.

“This cobalt catalyst proved to be highly efficient, and by immobilising it on a cheap graphite platform, one could use it to yield hydrogen in a water-based environment.”

As I’ve stated many times before, cheap and abundant renewable hydrogen is the goal. With so many researchers working on the solution, it’s only a matter time until they iron things out. 🙂


About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Michael Robinson

    I wonder if cobalt is as abundant as iron? I wonder how this inorganic approach compares to say extracting enzymes from plants to create a hydrogen producing cocktail? If Iron/Cobalt alloys can be used to extract hydrogen from liquid molecules, can these alloys be used in fuel cells?

    Biggest reasons why we aren’t driving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles already:

    1) Too expensive and environmentally harmful to produce enough
    hydrogen for 250+ million vehicles. (Maybe not!)

    2) Too few hydrogen vehicles to risk building refueling stations for them.

    3) Automakers can’t produce fuel cell vehicles cheap enough in small
    production runs where they don’t want to produce any if there is no
    place to refuel them.

    4) The illusion that battery electric vehicles are more practical partially
    because they are hitting the market sooner.

    5) Cheap oil, the mother lode has been discovered.

    6) The federal government is pushing gasoline/diesel fuel efficiency via
    hybridization, not hydrogen, with the thought being that 4 is the long term

    7) Misinformation, the average person doesn’t realize that hydrogen fuel cell
    vehicles can be practical now and become more practical with time.

    8) If fuel cells are too expensive, why even deal with hydrogen? This may get
    ironed out soon.

    9) There is a perception that there is no safe way to carry enough hydrogen on
    a vehicle.

    10) Lack of concern, people aren’t certain that the hydrogen highway is
    attainable so they deny that there is a need for one.

  2. Hydro Kevin

    Here’s a little info about cobalt:

    “Cobalt is not a particularly rare metal and it ranks 33 in abundance. It is however widely scattered in the Earth’s crust but is found in potentially exploitable quantities in several countries, 17 of which currently produce. Cobalt is only extracted alone from the Moroccan and Canadian Arsenide ores. It is normally associated with copper or nickel. In 2003 about 44% of world production came from nickel ores.”

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