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UDaily: Researcher discovers inexpensive catalyst to produce oxygen and hydrogen gas

UDaily: Researcher discovers inexpensive catalyst to produce oxygen and hydrogen gas

The University of Delaware’s Yushan Yan believes that electrochemical energy engineering is the key to reducing humankind’s reliance on combustion as the dominant player in energy conversion. All of his research is aimed at laying the foundation for a new era of affordable electrochemical devices, including fuel cells, electrolyzers, solar hydrogen generators, and redox flow batteries.

“Fuel cells coupled with solar hydrogen generators and/or water electrolyzers can provide clean power for mobile and stationary uses, while redox flow batteries are ideal for large-scale solar and wind electricity storage,” says Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at UD.

Creating this suite of devices is a tall order, and Yan knows that success is achieved one small breakthrough at a time. He and his research group recently made one such breakthrough when they synthesized a nickel-based catalyst that can split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Nickel, which is cheap and abundant, is an attractive replacement for currently used precious metals.