Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices: The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Chemistry

Nature Materials: Smallest lattice structure worldwide: 3-D lattice with glassy carbon struts and braces of less than 200 nm in diameter has higher specific strength than most solids February 3rd, 2016

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer: Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles January 30th, 2016

An alternative to platinum: Iron-nitrogen compounds as catalysts in graphene January 28th, 2016

Fun with Lego (molecules) January 28th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Scientists guide gold nanoparticles to form 'diamond' superlattices: DNA scaffolds cage and coax nanoparticles into position to form crystalline arrangements that mimic the atomic structure of diamond February 4th, 2016

Polar vortices observed in ferroelectric: New state of matter holds promise for ultracompact data storage and processing February 4th, 2016

Discoveries

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Joint Efforts by Iranian, Malaysian Scientists Produce Antibacterial Coatings for Isolated Areas February 4th, 2016

Announcements

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices: The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

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

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices: The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Joint Efforts by Iranian, Malaysian Scientists Produce Antibacterial Coatings for Isolated Areas February 4th, 2016

Silicon-based metamaterials could bring photonic circuits February 1st, 2016

Therapeutic Solutions International Licenses Dexosome Clinical Stage Cancer Immunotherapy Product From Gustave Roussy European Cancer Centre: FDA Cleared Immuno-Oncology Technology to Resume Clinical Development for Solid Tumor Patients January 27th, 2016

Light-activated nanoparticles prove effective against antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' January 19th, 2016

Energy

February 4th, 2016

Putting silicon 'sawdust' in a graphene cage boosts battery performance: Approach could remove major obstacles to increasing the capacity of lithium-ion batteries January 30th, 2016

Simplifying solar cells with a new mix of materials: Berkeley Lab-led research team creates a high-efficiency device in 7 steps January 29th, 2016

Scientists provide new guideline for synthesis of fullerene electron acceptors January 28th, 2016

Water

Highly efficient heavy metal ions filter January 25th, 2016

Louisiana Tech University student coauthors research in ACS journal January 15th, 2016

Coated Magnetic Nanoparticles Used to Purify Contaminated Water December 28th, 2015

Photocatalytic Nanostructures Show Ability to Purify Wastewater December 24th, 2015

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic