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Current Affairs

Generating hydrogen from water using yeast

Date: 28 April 2020 Tags: Energy


Scientists have developed a new low-cost catalyst synthesis method that can efficiently decompose water into oxygen and hydrogen using waste-yeast biomass.



Yeast biomass-derived materials can help develop efficient, eco-friendly and economic catalysts to improve the sustainability of hydrogen production.



  • Hydrogen is the cleanest primary energy source on earth. One way of producing environmentally-friendly hydrogen is via the electrolysis of water. However, such method needed noble-metal-based catalysts, such as platinum (Pt) for the HER and Iridium (Ir) for the OER. However, these catalysts are typically rare, expensive, and less durable.

  • Scientists focused on the squander yeast biomass, as catalyst material that will improve oxygen and hydrogen generation, while replacing the noble metal catalysts, for example, Pt or Ir.

  • As yeast is a living organism, it is wealthy in substances, for example, carbon (C), phosphorus (P), sulphur (S), and nitrogen (N).

  • In the study, the research team has created two catalysts that promote the generation of both hydrogen and oxygen, using waste yeast as catalyst support.

  • They reported hydrogen and oxygen production in 1 M potassium hydroxide using ruthenium single atoms (RuSAs) along with Ru nanoparticles (RuNPs) embedded in MHC (RuSAs + RuNPs@MHC) as a cathode and magnetite (Fe3O4) supported on MHC (Fe3O4@MHC) as an anode.

  • Compared to coal and oil, waste yeast is eco-friendly, inexpensive, and readily available biomass, and the results of the study suggest a new application of waste yeast biomass.