Is hydrogen fuel about to get way cheaper from this one discovery?

Is hydrogen fuel about to get way cheaper from this one discovery?

May 17, 2024 0 By Erin Kilgore

Scientists have found a way to produce H2 using 95% less iridium, a rare and expensive metal

RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) researchers in Japan have announced that they may have discovered the secret to being able to produce hydrogen fuel far more cheaply than the currently used methods.

The key is a vast reduction in the need for expensive metals

Among the cleanest and most effective ways to produce hydrogen fuel involves the use of rare, expensive metals. Naturally, having to acquire those metals in order to produce the clean energy drives up the cost of that production. Among those catalysts, iridium is among the better options. That said, it is difficult to obtain and has a substantial price tag when used at scale.

“Iridium is so rare that scaling up global hydrogen production to the terawatt scale is estimated to require 40 years’ worth of iridium,” said Shuang Kong, the first co-author of the paper published by the researchers.

The power of manganese in hydrogen fuel production

The researchers at RIKEN determined that manganese, a far cheaper and more common substance, can be very helpful in the hydrogen fuel production process, making it possible to cut down on the need for iridium by as much as 95 percent.

Hydrogen Fuel - 95 percent less iridium

Not only does this mean that the cost of H2 production can be substantially reduced, but it can also be accomplished without reducing output.

If the method developed by the researchers is scaled up, it could mean that H2 could be made affordably enough that it may be seen as a viable and realistic alternative to fossil fuels.

Developing sustainable catalysts

hydrogen news ebookThe researchers are working to further develop the current manganese catalyst while they continue to seek additional sustainable catalysts using some of the most common metals on the planet.

The manganese oxide has already been highly successful as a catalyst in stabilizing the production of green hydrogen fuel at a high level. Still, the method will not be immediately ready for widespread use, Industrial level production using this method is still believed to be several years away from now.

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