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New catalyst may impact energy storage (MIT, electrolysis)

  1. Aug 3, 2008 #1


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    this EurekAlert page links to a MIT press release describing the operation of the new catalyst and potential applications


    Dan Nocera is the main person responsible. Here's a ScienceDaily account

    I can't tell how important this development really is. It allows the electrolysis of pH neutral water, apparently. Usual electrolysis requires an alkaline solution, apparently. I don't see any figures about efficiency. It seems to me that it could be important but I can't be sure. Any thoughts?
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
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  3. Aug 3, 2008 #2


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    This is very interesting . The catalyst should work with an efficiency comparable to that of the platinum catalyst with respect to solid surface phenomena . Old tricks for electrolysis required a charged solution so to make electron transfer throughout the solution more feasible . Could the future of the US be that every household are equipped with these devices ?
  4. May 6, 2010 #3
    I don't know why someone isn't busy commercializing this. I see so many windmills that are idled most of the day and night. They could be charging fuel cells. Solar facilities could also be using the technology charging fuel cells for night time use.

    Hopefully, the technology could be scaled down for home use charging fuel cells in cars.

    Why do we have so much brilliant science and no engineering to make it work for us.
  5. May 6, 2010 #4
    You can't just take a concept that someone created in a lab under perfect ideal conditions and then instantly apply it to the real world. Technology just doesn't work that way. It should also be noted that a lot of modern technologies and techniques already commercially available can reach very comparable efficiencies and reach those efficiencies at high pressures (this is a really big deal).

    FYI, you can't charge a fuel cell. It's not a battery or energy storage device, its an engine.
  6. May 7, 2010 #5


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    Well, a lot of people are working on artificial photosynthesis, typically with the goal of producing hydrogen from water, is a huge field.
    It's being attacked from every conceivable angle.

    For instance, the EU's Solar-H and Solar-H2 programs. Which is very ambitious and oriented at a biomimetic type catalyst.

    There are others working more on purely organometallic catalysts.
    And our group had a guy doing some theoretical studies on this stuff.

    It's going to happen in the long term, that's for sure. I don't think anyone knows which approach is going to be most successful.
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