Nanotechnology company QuantumSphere Inc. (QSI) has used their knowledge of the tiny particles to produce electrodes that could allow hydrogen generation at lower cost than natural gas or gasoline. The best part is that unlike steam reformation, electrolysis produces no emissions (assuming the electricity comes from renewable sources). The key is that QSI has developed nanoparticle nickel-iron catalysts that improve the efficiency of the electrolysis process to 85 percent and triple the output of hydrogen.
The key to the improvement is the nano sized catalyst particles. A catalyst is only effective where it is in physical contact with the reaction. By depositing billions of tiny particles on the electrode the effective surface area is increased by a factor of 1,000. This provides a far greater area for water to contact the catalyst and split into hydrogen and oxygen. The same process applies to the lithium ion battery technologies from A123 systems and Altairnano. QSI claims to be able to apply the technology to the electrodes in fuel cells as well, improving their efficiency. Such nanoparticle coated electrodes could supplant the platinum catalysts used today to greatly reduce the cost of fuel cell stacks. QSI eventually hopes to offer home hydrogen generation systems.

[Source: Automotive Design Line]

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