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Novel catalyst offers to make hydrogen more viable as a fuel

Facts For Prelims

Source: The Hindu


Context: Researchers at IIT Mandi have developed a novel carbon-based catalyst to make water electrolysis more efficient.

  • Water electrolysis is the process of choice to produce ‘green hydrogen ‘thus making it more significant.


About water electrolysis:

  • In water electrolysis, water molecules are split into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity inside a device called an electrolyser. However, this process consumes a lot of electrical energy.


New finding:

  • A new study has reported a porous carbon material containing nitrogen that functions both as a catalyst and as the anode in electrolyser units – and could substitute the metal-based catalysts.
  • The researchers produced this material, called ‘laser carbon’, by exposing a sheet of a polymer called polyimide to a laser beam, which carbonised the exposed bits, leaving the remainder rich in nitrogen.


Advantages of the new catalyst:

  • Laser carbon is “highly power efficient”, cheaper to produce, has a simpler synthesis technique, and “can be batch-manufactured with a laser”.