Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Catalyst produces hydrogen from water as a by-product

Scientific American reports on progress toward a hydrogen economy. The problem, of course is getting the hydrogne cheaply.
We have discovered a catalyst that can produce ready quantities of hydrogen without the need for extreme cold temperatures or high pressures, which are often required in other production and storage methods,' remarks Mahdi Abu-Omar of Purdue University. The compound he and his colleagues used is a so-called coordination complex based on the metal rhenium. Originally looking for a method to convert chemicals called organosilanes into silanols, the team combined organosilanes and water in the presence of the rhenium complex at ambient temperature and pressure. After an hour, the reaction had produced hydrogen gas in addition to silanols. According to a report published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the method generates a large amount of hydrogen compared to the amount of water used. …

One of the drawbacks, the team reports, is the high cost of the organosilane starting materials. But if the silicon byproduct can be sold or recycled efficiently, the new approach could be economically feasible.
This may be a start.

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