Rutgers University researchers have found a way to store renewable energy with hydrogen, in a recent study published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal ‘Energy & Environmental Science’.
The research is a result of a collaboration between the university researchers and Proton OnSite, the largest manufacturer of electrolysers in North America, with funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, NATCO Pharma Ltd., as well as the University.
Platinum is currently the default material of choice for electrolysis but testing of the compound Ni5P4 showed promising results of efficiency in driving hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), the process of producing hydrogen by splitting water.
The new catalyst can operate under alkaline conditions with stainless steel as the body of electrodes, instead of using platinum as catalyst under acidic conditions with titanium electrodes. This results in a significant cost reduction.
The team’s ultimate goal is to have the renewable hydrogen produced used as an agent for energy storage.
Anders Laursen, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, says that “We can use (the hydrogen) and get electricity back when needed. The advantage of storing energy in compressed hydrogen container versus battery is that hydrogen is light and easily reversible.”