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A sandwich catalyst boosts H2 production

By Paul Grad |

Platinum has been the main catalyst for hydrogen-producing reactions, but it has a low affinity for water molecules. This results in a slow rate of water electrolysis. Attempts have been made to combine metal-sulfide with platinum nanoparticles that promote water electrolysis, but the unstable nature of platinum/metallic-sulfide surfaces reduces the durability of catalysts. To overcome those limitations, a research team — led by professor In Su Lee and Soumen Dutta of the Dept. of Chemistry, Pohang University of Science and Technology (Pohang, South Korea; www.postech.ac.kr) — has designed a “sandwich” catalyst consisting of a platinum/metal-hydroxide interface. The team grew a 1-nm platinum layer on the surface of nickel/iron-double-hydroxide, thus synthesizing 2D-2D nanohybrid materials in the form of sandwiches containing 2D-nickel/iron-hydroxide-nano plates. This synthesized sandwich catalyst has shown more than six times the activity of the conventional catalytic material (20%-Pt/C), and is said to maintain stable catalytic action in the H2-producing reaction of water electrolysis for more than 50 hours. “Sandwich catalysts have the highest alkali solution hydrogen-producing catalytic activity among substances that…
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