Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanoparticle Opens the Door to Clean-Energy Alternatives

A transmission-electron microscope image of a collection of quasi-spherical nickel phosphide nanoparticles. A team led by Raymond Schaak of Penn State University has found that these nanoparticles can catalyze an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water. Credit: Eric Popczun, Penn State University
A transmission-electron microscope image of a collection of quasi-spherical nickel phosphide nanoparticles. A team led by Raymond Schaak of Penn State University has found that these nanoparticles can catalyze an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water.

Credit: Eric Popczun, Penn State University

Abstract:
Cheaper clean-energy technologies could be made possible thanks to a new discovery. Led by Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, research team members have found that an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water is effectively triggered -- or catalyzed -- by a nanoparticle composed of nickel and phosphorus, two inexpensive elements that are abundant on Earth. The results of the research will be published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Nanoparticle Opens the Door to Clean-Energy Alternatives

University Park, PA | Posted on June 14th, 2013

Schaak explained that the purpose of the nickel phosphide nanoparticle is to help produce hydrogen from water, which is a process that is important for many energy-production technologies, including fuel cells and solar cells. "Water is an ideal fuel, because it is cheap and abundant, but we need to be able to extract hydrogen from it," Schaak said. Hydrogen has a high energy density and is a great energy carrier, Schaak explained, but it requires energy to produce. To make its production practical, scientists have been hunting for a way to trigger the required chemical reactions with an inexpensive catalyst. Schaak noted that this feat is accomplished very well by platinum but, because platinum is expensive and relatively rare, he and his team have been searching for alternative materials. "There were some predictions that nickel phosphide might be a good candidate, and we had already been working with nickel phosphide nanoparticles for several years," Schaak said. "It turns out that nanoparticles of nickel phosphide are indeed active for producing hydrogen and are comparable to the best known alternatives to platinum."

To create the nickel phosphide nanoparticles, team members began with metal salts that are commercially available. They then dissolved these salts in solvents, added other chemical ingredients, and heated the solution to allow the nanoparticles to form. The researchers were able create a nanoparticle that was quasi-spherical -- not a perfect sphere, but spherical with many flat, exposed edges. "The small size of the nanoparticles creates a high surface area, and the exposed edges means that a large number of sites are available to catalyze the chemical reaction that produces hydrogen," Schaak explained.

The next step was for team members at the California Institute of Technology to test the nanoparticles' performance in catalyzing the necessary chemical reactions. Led by Nathan S. Lewis, the George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, the researchers performed these tests by placing the nanoparticles onto a sheet of titanium foil and immersing that sheet in a solution of sulfuric acid. Next, the researchers applied a voltage and measured the current produced. They found that, not only were the chemical reactions happening as they had hoped, they also were happening with a high degree of efficacy.

"Nanoparticle technology has already started to open the door to cheaper and cleaner energy that is also efficient and useful," Schaak said. "The goal now is to further improve the performance of these nanoparticles and to understand what makes them function the way they do. Also, our team members believe that our success with nickel phosphide can pave the way toward the discovery of other new catalysts that also are comprised of Earth-abundant materials. Insights from this discovery may lead to even better catalysts in the future."

In addition to Schaak and Lewis, other researchers who contributed to this study include Eric J. Popczun, Carlos G. Read, Adam J. Biacchi, and Alex M. Wiltrout from Penn State; and James R. McKone from the California Institute of Technology.

The research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The team has filed a patent application.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Raymond Schaak:
814-865-8600


Barbara Kennedy (PIO)
814-863-4682

Copyright © Penn State

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Chemistry

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Clarifiying complex chemical processes with quantum computers August 3rd, 2017

Strem Chemicals Surpasses ChemStewards® Requirements: Strem Qualifies for SOCMA’s “Excellence” Ranking August 3rd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition: Nagoya University-led team of physicists use a synchrotron radiation X-ray source to probe a so-called 'structure-less' transition and develop a new understanding of molecular conductors August 21st, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Discoveries

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Announcements

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition: Nagoya University-led team of physicists use a synchrotron radiation X-ray source to probe a so-called 'structure-less' transition and develop a new understanding of molecular conductors August 21st, 2017

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Argonne National Laboratory’s Continuous ALD Technology Licensed Exclusively to Forge Nano July 7th, 2017

Aculon Expands NanoProof® Product Line for Electronics Waterproofing Technology: With growing market opportunities Aculon Launches NanoProof® 8 with Push Through Connectivity™ and NanoProof® DAB a syringe application May 30th, 2017

NREL’s Advanced Atomic Layer Deposition Enables Lithium-Ion Battery Technology: May 10th, 2017

Forge Nano 2017: 1st Quarter Media Update April 20th, 2017

Energy

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Fewer defects from a 2-D approach August 15th, 2017

Water

Magnetized viruses attack harmful bacteria: Rice, China team uses phage-enhanced nanoparticles to kill bacteria that foul water treatment systems August 2nd, 2017

Bacteria-coated nanofiber electrodes clean pollutants in wastewater July 1st, 2017

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water, Penn chemists report June 16th, 2017

Plasmonics could bring sustainable society, desalination tech June 2nd, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project