New, affordable and easy to upscale electrocatalyst for hydrogen production from water

Research teams of Umeå University, Åbo Akademi, University of Danang and University of Oulu have developed a novel robust and efficient catalyst nanomaterial for electrochemical water splitting, which is easy to apply and feasible to produce in large quantities at low cost. 

Electrochemical water splitting to produce hydrogen and oxygen is one of the key processes for future green energy concepts. 

When the electrochemical cell is powered by electricity obtained e.g. by solar cells or other renewables, we obtain a very powerful tool to convert the green energy to chemicals with high energy content, i.e. to fuels such as hydrogen in the present case. 

Today, for electrochemical water splitting expensive platinum electrodes and its alloys are used. Exploring novel and affordable conductive materials having large specific surface area and high catalytic activity is a major research effort of the scientific community.

The composite structure of carbon foam/nanotube collector and cobalt oxide nanoparticle catalyst demonstrated by the collaborating teams have all the features that render them to be a promising competitive choice of electrode materials. 

“Since the carbon based porous support may host practically any type of other more advanced catalytic nanoparticles, the structure may be considered as a versatile platform for electrocatalytic converters and sensors in the future.” explains Krisztian Kordas, a collaborator at the Microelectronics Research Unit at the University of Oulu.   
The article Robust hierarchical 3D carbon foam electrode for efficient water electrolysis published in Scientific Reports acknowledges funding received from Bio4Energy programme, the Kempe and the Knut & Alice Wallenberg foundations, the Academy of Finland and from the University of Danang.


Krisztian Kordas
Microelectronics Research Unit
University of Oulu


Last updated: 27.9.2017