A new catalyst from Korea might replace platinum for hydrogen production

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UNIST | Authors of the research

Researchers at UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) have found a new highly efficient, lower-cost catalyst for hydrogen production and a practical evaluation method for electrodes.

The institute’s research team led by Professor Jong-beom Baek (School of Energy and Chemical Engineering) developed ‘Ru@MWCNT,’ a catalyst for water splitting by integrating ruthenium and Multi-Walled Carbon NanoTube (MWCNT). The performance evaluation said the new catalyst is better than widely used Pt/C (Platinum on carbon) in many ways, UNIST claimed, even with simple synthesis. The cost of the new catalyst would be also lower than platinum-based catalysts, as ruthenium’s price is 1/3 of platinum.

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Actual hydrogen production analysis. Kweon, D.H., Okyay, M.S., Kim, S. et al. Ruthenium anchored on carbon nanotube electrocatalyst for hydrogen production with enhanced Faradaic efficiency. Nat Commun 11, 1278 (2020). Click to englarge

Moreover, the team created and employed a new performance evaluation method, in which the actual hydrogen production is measured. As a result, in the same condition, Ru@MWCNT produced 15.6% more hydrogen than Pt/C catalyst. Ru@MWCNT also recorded 92.2% of faradaic efficiency compared to Pt/C’s 85.9%. Professor Baek said the evaluation method can be later employed for the test of other catalysts in the perspective of commercialization.

The study is shared at Nature Communications. Corresponding authors are Professor Baek and UNIST Research Professor Javeed Mahmood. The first author is Do Hyung Kweon.

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Catalyst performance comparison. Kweon, D.H., Okyay, M.S., Kim, S. et al. Ruthenium anchored on carbon nanotube electrocatalyst for hydrogen production with enhanced Faradaic efficiency. Nat Commun 11, 1278 (2020). Click to enlarge.
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