The growing need for hydrogen-based fuel cells has driven research into hydrogenase (H2ase) - a natural enzyme that catalyses the extraction of electrons from H2 in water under ambient conditions. Unfortunately, the exact mechanism by which H2ase achieves this feat has remained a matter of some controversy until now, with many mechanisms being inconsistent with experimental data. Recently, however, we have been able to produce a successful catalytic mimic of H2ase that replicates key aspects of it. This paper begins with an overview of the research from many groups that preceded this discovery, followed by a detailed analysis of the key points that set our unique functional model apart - that is to say a proton-like "hydride" species, a surprisingly low-valent NiIRu I complex and the key insight that two molecules of H2 are required for electron extraction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry