Jewish twins may have solved hydrogen conundrum

Two high school students, twin sisters Shilpa and Shweta Iyer may have found an inexpensive material that can be mixed with molybdenum to make an inexpensive catalyst replacing platinum in water electrolysis. The students tested familiar materials from everyday life, and discovered that soybeans made good catalysts when mixed with molybdenum.

They worked with their class in the discovery, under the supervision of James Muckerman, Wei-Fu Chen. Muckerman, Chen, and colleagues at Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York, have successfully produced a catalyst made from molybdenum – an abundant transition metal, around 1500 times cheaper than platinum – and ground soybeans.

Carbon and nitrogen from the soybean proteins combined with molybdenum to make molybdenum carbide and molybdenum nitride, respectively. ‘Molybdenum carbide itself is active but not stable in acidic solution, while molybdenum nitride is corrosion resistant but not suitable for hydrogen production. Synergy between the two gave a stable composite material,’ explains Muckerman. The cheap and easy to prepare material has excellent long-term durability and it catalyses hydrogen production at efficiencies comparable to a platinum catalyst.

‘Platinum-free catalysts are powerful tools for generating molecular hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source,’ says Henrik Junge, an expert in electrocatalysts for hydrogen production at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis, Rostock, Germany. He also wonders if other precursors could be used to generate the catalyst. ‘This would avoid discussions about the competitive usage of biomass for food versus chemical feedstocks.’  source

Molybdenum is  mined extensively in the United States. And, as for the soybeans,  I, for one, would be most likely be willing to forgo tofu and soy milk in order to have the cheap, safe, and abundant energy source of the future.

Better living through chemistry, indeed.

6 Responses

  1. Sounds promising.
    I still can’t understand why we don’t have Thorium reactors in wide use.
    Abundant material, cheap, safe…it has it all.


  2. I read recently that one of the Scandinavian countries were planning on a full-scale test of thorium power generation. Vikings got some foresight!

    you might remember we discussed thorium many moons ago …
    (7 years ago? dang!)

  3. Down with Big Molybdenum! Save the Planet!

  4. […] Nuke’s: Jewish twins may have solved hydrogen conundrum […]

Comments are closed.

Der Komödiant - Autor • Blogger • Meinungsmacher

schreibend • meinend • kauzig • kritisch • politisch - Der Komödiant schreibt aus Berlin über die diversesten Themen. Von Kurzgeschichte bis Politik, alles was beschäftigt oder beschäftigt werden will. Blog, Autor


Sercan Ondem

Father Says...

one dad's thoughts on life


knowledge-sharing platform about career, self-development, productivity & learning for ambitious young people


The Circle Is Not Round


Share Wisdom. Live Abundantly.

The Traditionalist

Revolt Against The Modern World


A topnotch site

My life as Atu's Blog

a small thougt for a big planet of daydreamer

Books, Rants & Rambles

Books, Rants & Rambles

Taffy Toffy's Blog


%d bloggers like this: