A research group led by Professor Seiji Oe of Kyushu University has developed a new compound consisting of oxygen and iron in collaboration with Kumamoto University.It was also confirmed that water is generated by reacting this with hydrogen ions.By combining with existing technology, it will be possible to develop new fuel cells.
The reaction between iron and oxygen plays a central role in the use of energy by living organisms.For example, oxygen transport in blood is famous, but enzymes containing iron are involved in many chemical reactions that are essential for life support.Understanding the energy conversion system of these organisms also leads to the artificial use of energy.The group focused on an iron-containing enzyme called "oxygen-resistant hydrogenase," which can activate both hydrogen and oxygen.Fuel cells use a reaction that activates hydrogen and oxygen to make water, but this cannot be achieved artificially without using precious metals such as platinum.Due to the limited resources and high cost, if iron can be used as a substitute, it will accelerate the spread of fuel cells at once.
In this study, the group synthesized a substance that artificially mimics the central part of the reaction of "oxygen-resistant hydrogenase".It has a structure in which an oxygen atom surrounds an iron atom.We succeeded in producing water by reacting this with hydrogen ions.This makes it possible to create platinum-free fuel cells by combining it with the technology that has already been developed.
Issues are being steadily resolved toward the realization of a hydrogen-based society.2015, which is said to be the first year of hydrogen, is about to end, but it will be a big step toward widespread use.
Source:[Kyushu University] Succeeded in "activation of oxygen" following activation of hydrogen with a non-precious metal molecular catalyst