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|Kimberly McGrath, PhD, Director of Fuel Cell R&D, QuantumSphere, Inc., holds QSI-Nano NiFe coated electrode (left) vs. standard stainless steel electrode for hydrogen generation through water electrolysis.|
High Surface Area Nano-Enabled Electrodes Significantly Increase Reaction Efficiency in Water Electrolysis
QuantumSphere, Inc., a leading manufacturer of nano metals and alloys for applications in renewable energy, portable power, defense, electronics and other markets demanding advanced materials, today announced that it has achieved a breakthrough in clean hydrogen production through water electrolysis. Leveraging a proprietary advanced catalyst formulation, QSI-Nano NiFe(tm), QuantumSphere has effectively increased the surface area of commercial electrodes by approximately 1000 times. This increase is due to unique physical characteristics of nanoparticles. For example, a gram of QSI-Nano(r) materials have the surface area of about the size of a soccer field. To date, the QSI-Nano NiFe(tm) coated electrodes have surpassed 1,000-hour durability testing under harsh conditions (33% KOH, 1 A/cm2). These nano-enabled electrodes demonstrate QuantumSphere's ability to produce larger amounts of clean hydrogen on demand at improved rates.
The process by which electricity is used to generate hydrogen and oxygen from water is called electrolysis. Through the use of a new proprietary nano catalyst formulation, QuantumSphere has demonstrated production of hydrogen and oxygen in an alkaline electrolyzer with 85 percent efficiency under ambient conditions, making it a commercially viable replacement for fossil fuel-based production methods.
Although identified as a candidate with the potential to lower dependency on petroleum, today's current large-scale hydrogen production techniques also produce an inordinate amount of greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. For example, the steam-reformation process -- which accounts for roughly 85% of hydrogen production using natural gas -- produces four pounds of greenhouse gases for every one pound of hydrogen produced.
"While hydrogen has long been promoted for its clean energy potential, the most common method of production of the gas has been a dirty little secret in terms of the amount of fossil fuels used and the greenhouse gasses generated," said Kevin Maloney, president and CEO, QuantumSphere, Inc. "Now with the use of QSI-Nano NiFe(tm), we are literally splitting the water more efficiently and turning heads in the scientific, industrial, and transportation communities. Our nano scale nickel and iron particles improve this process by dramatically increasing the surface area available for the catalytic reaction to generate hydrogen on commercial electrodes."
Before the use of QSI-Nano(r) catalysts, production of hydrogen through electrolysis had been hindered by high-cost catalysts and low efficiency. The use of nanoparticles now makes it possible to produce hydrogen with an efficiency exceeding a key U.S. Department of Energy benchmark.
Hydrogen is in demand for several developing clean and renewable energy uses. Research now being conducted seeks to generate high rates of the gas via on-board electrolysis to fuel plug-in hybrid electric/hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and for stationary fuel cell back-up power systems. "Efficient hydrogen fuel generation enabled by QSI-Nano NiFe(tm) electrodes unlocks the potential to simplify the hydrogen infrastructure and accelerate fuel cell commercialization," said Kimberly McGrath, Ph.D., director of fuel cell research, QuantumSphere, Inc. "We envision the consumer being able to refuel their vehicles at home from garage electrolyzer units using water and off-peak electricity at night and solar power during the day."
About QuantumSphere, Inc.
QuantumSphere, Inc. (QSI) is a leading manufacturer of advanced catalytic materials and a developer of high performance electrode devices and related technologies for multiple clean-energy and electronics applications. Backed by a strong intellectual property portfolio, QSI products can lower costs and enable breakthrough performance in such multi-billion dollar growth markets as batteries, sensors, fuel cells, and hydrogen generation, among others.
Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Santa Ana, CA, QSI is driven by a mission to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources through continuous innovation and refinement of its advanced catalytic materials and electrode devices. QSI serves industry leading customers with its patented, automated, highly scalable, and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
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