Stanford Scientists Develop Water Splitter Powered by AAA Battery using Nickel and Iron Catalysts

This has received some attention around the web — thanks to US_Citizen for the following comments on another thread.

Scientists develop a water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

It uses nickel/nickel-oxide and iron catalysts, more evidence that nickel has some special properties when combined with hydrogen.

Its a 2 nanometer thick nickel coating on silicon. Lithium is added to the water for protection against corrosion.
Nickel in the nanometer scale… makes you wonder.

From the article:

“Using nickel and iron, which are cheap materials, we were able to make the electrocatalysts active enough to split water at room temperature with a single 1.5-volt battery,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low. It’s quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage . . . It’s been a constant pursuit for decades to make low-cost electrocatalysts with high activity and long durability,” Dai said. “When we found out that a nickel-based catalyst is as effective as platinum, it came as a complete surprise.”

As far as energy production goes, this is certainly not LENR, but a potentially much cheaper method for producing hydrogen. Hydrogen is discussed widely as a potential clean ad alternative to fossil fuels, but producing hydrogen requires energy input, and then there are storage and safety issues to deal with since hydrogen is both very light and combustible. Hydrogen-on-demand systems would be attractive because they obviate the need for storage of large amounts of hydrogen.

Fuel cell technology — where electricity is produced by combining hydrogen with oxygen to make electricity — is being developed as an alternative to battery, and Honda, Hyundai and Toyota are all developing electric cars using fuel cells to produce electricity. Of course we know that LENR uses hydrogen as an essential ingredient, but in such small amounts that the cost of hydrogen is probably not very significant in terms of overall costs.