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Discovery that Significantly Reduces the Cost of Hydrogen Production

Effects of adsorbed sulfate (Sad δ−) on the hydrogen evolution reaction in alkaline media, and the structure of double layer Image by Boštjan Genorio

Publish Date: 05.12.2016

Category: Outstanding research achievements, Interdisciplinary research, Our contribution to sustainable development goals

Sustainable development goals: 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure (Indicators)

Boštjan Genorio from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana and his colleagues developed mixed CoSx and MoSx catalysts, which lower the costs of hydrogen production significantly.

 Authors: Boštjan Genorio, Jakub Staszak-Jirkovský, Christos D. D Malliakas, Pietro P. Lopes, Nemanja Danilović, Subrahmanyam S. Kota, Kee-Chul Chang, Dušan Strmčnik, Vojislav R. Stamenković, Mercouri G.Kanatzidis, Nenad M. Marković 

 Hydrogen (H2) is the fuel of the future; it has applications in internal combustion engines as well as in fuel cells. One of the main reasons why hydrogen technology is not more widespread is the issue of hydrogen production. It is produced by electrolysis of water, where the excess electrical energy is transformed into chemical energy. The issues that limit the electrolysis process and make it more expensive are still unsolved. The key issue that numerous scientists around the world are trying to solve today is stability of the system, which is related to a) low efficiency rate, b) short catalysts lifetime and c) lack of low-cost materials.1

For the new approach – with a mixed CoSx and MoSx catalyzer – researchers from the USA and Slovenia showed that the mentioned problems can be successfully resolved. The key to the discovery is that combining the high activity of the CoSx building blocks with the high stability of MoSx units into a compact and robust calcogel CoMoSx structure created a cheap alternative to catalysts based on noble metals for efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen production in alkaline and acidic media. The discovery was published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Materials.2

 Source (1) Strmcnik, D.; Lopes, P. P.; Genorio, B.; Stamenkovic, V. R.; Markovic, N. M. Nano Energy 2016, 1–8. (

2) Staszak-Jirkovský, J.; Malliakas, C. D. D.; Lopes, P. P. P.; Danilovic, N.; Kota, S. S. S.; Chang, K.-C.; Genorio,B.; Strmcnik, D.; Stamenkovic, V. R. R.; Kanatzidis, M. G.; Markovic, N. M. Nat. Mater. 2016, 15, 197–203.


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