Electrons from hydrogen

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71 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3317-3325
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Communications
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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