Catalyst Paves Way for Efficient Renewable Energy Storage

Oct. 6, 2023
Medium could provide a clean energy source to replace fossil fuels.

Researchers at City University Hong Kong (CityU) have developed a catalyst based on single atoms of platinum, offering a promising solution for storing renewable energy as hydrogen efficiently and cost-effectively. This innovation, tested at Imperial College London, could facilitate the UK's ambitious goal of achieving 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, according to a press release from Imperial College.

Renewable energy generation, such as wind and solar power, is expanding rapidly, but effective energy storage is crucial for times when weather conditions are unfavorable for these sources. Hydrogen is considered a promising energy storage medium, generated through the electrolysis of water using platinum catalysts. However, platinum is expensive and rare, making it essential to minimize its use to reduce costs and environmental impact.

According to the release, the research team dispersed single platinum atoms within a molybdenum sulfide (MoS2) sheet, significantly reducing platinum consumption while enhancing the catalyst's performance. This approach creates an efficient and cost-effective platform for water splitting and hydrogen generation.

Professor Zhang Hua, the lead researcher at CityU, highlighted the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy source to replace fossil fuels, reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Imperial College London's team conducted thorough testing of the catalyst's performance, developing methods and models to understand its operation. The technology's applications extend to hydrogen flow batteries and fuel cells, making it a crucial component in the transition toward a hydrogen-based economy, offering efficient energy storage and conversion solutions.