Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

I&T Weekly holiday break
I&T Weekly is taking a holiday break. We will be back on Friday, January 12, 2018 with a fresh selection of innovation and technology news. On behalf of the entire UNU-MERIT team, we wish our readers an excellent 2018!

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All headlines
  • France announces landmark ban on fossil fuel production
  • Extreme laser bursts may lead to practical nuclear fusion
  • Gene editing staves off deafness in mice
  • Integrated circuits could make quantum computers scalable
  • 'Water cloak' uses electromagnetic waves to eliminate turbulence
  • Cold cigarette lighter will power satellite
  • Scientists develop the most efficient water-splitting catalyst yet
    Scientists from the University of Houston have found a new way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen that's cheap and effective - and it may lead to an abundance of clean hydrogen fuel in the future.

    Hydrogen is a big source for clean energy, but the challenge is making enough of it to be efficient and practical price. A newly developed catalyst now reportedly addresses both issues, boasting more efficiency for a lower cost than existing solutions.

    To split water into hydrogen and oxygen, two reactions are needed - one for each element. The main issue has been getting an efficient catalyst for the oxygen part of the equation. The new catalyst is made up of a ferrous metaphosphate and a conductive nickel foam platform, a combination of materials the team says is more efficient and less expensive than existing solutions. It can also operate for more than 20 hours and 10,000 cycles without a hitch.

    Using the new method means hydrogen can be produced without creating waste carbon. And until now, oxygen reactions have often relied on electrocatalysts that use iridium, platinum, or ruthenium - 'noble' metals that are difficult and expensive to source. Nickel, in contrast, is more abundant and so easier and cheaper to get.

    Science Alert / PNAS    May 17, 2017