Rights: The University of Waikato Published 30 May 2008 Download

Prof Richard Haverkamp, of Massey University, explains electrocatalysts, and their potential for fuel cell technology. You can also see hydrogen gas being made by the electrolysis of water.

Transcript

DR RICHARD HAVERKAMP
An electrocatalyst is like a catalyst but it involves some electrical current as well. So they’re a material that there is an electrochemical reaction involved. So an electrochemical reaction is where there is a chemical reaction taking place, but its either putting out some electrical power or it requires some electrical power to run it.

If you take some hydrogen gas and some oxygen gas and you mix them together in a balloon say, nothing will happen, so you’ll just have a mixture of gases. But if you put the right sort of catalyst in there you can get the two to react with each other and make water in a controlled manner. And that’s an electrocatalyst that could be used for example in a fuel cell where you can essentially burn hydrogen and oxygen and make electricity. But it doesn't burn as in – with a roaring flame, its a very controlled reaction to give off electricity.

Acknowledgements:
Dr Aaron Marshall