Graphene-based catalysts for the energy industry

Researchers at the Universitat Jaume I in Spain have developed materials based on graphene that can catalyse reactions for the conversion and storage of energy. The technology patented by the UJI combines graphene and organometallic compounds in a single material without altering the properties of graphene, such as its electrical conductivity.

The technology, developed by the Group of Organometallic Chemistry and Homogeneous Catalysis of the UJI, is of great interest to the energy industry and is part of the so-called 'hydrogen economy'; an alternative energetic model in which energy is stored as hydrogen. In this regard, the materials patented by the UJI allow catalysing reactions for obtaining hydrogen from alcohols and may also serve as storage systems of the gas.

This is the first time graphene has been used to support organometallic compounds. These hybrid materials have catalytic properties and are modular and recyclable. It is claimed that the catalyst developed at the UJI can be recycled ten times without suffering a loss of activity.

The new material is also acquired by a novel system of obtaining hybrid materials in a single step. An affordable system that allows the technology that is currently based on graphene to be converted using these new materials. This means the patented materials can be used both in the development of catalysts as well as storage batteries or other energy types.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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