Electrons from hydrogen

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    79 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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