Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Cobalt oxide catalyst splits water with sunlight

See also

Cobalt oxide nanoparticles have been used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for the first time by a team of engineers and scientists from the United States and China led by Jiming Bao, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston, according to their report in the Dec. 15, 2013, issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

This is the first time any researcher has reported the ability to split naturally occurring water into hydrogen and oxygen using only light and a single catalyst (cobalt oxide nanoparticles.)

The cobalt oxide nanopartlices were prepared using ball milling and laser ablation. Each technique produced similar efficiency but ball milling is much less expensive.

The researchers tested light in small frequency groups that are a part of naturally occurring sunlight and found no specific frequency that produced an increased reaction rate.

The efficiency of this method of producing hydrogen as a fuel from water is between five and ten percent.

The researchers state that the cobalt oxide does not last long enough to make the method commercially viable as of yet but this is the first direct light to hydrogen method using only one catalyst developed to date that has been proven to work.



  • Obama's Asia trip
    President Obama arrives in Asia, though he's not necessarily getting a warm welcome
    Watch Video
  • Ferry survivors deal with guilt
    The few heroes of the Korean ferry disaster deal with unimaginable survivor's guilt
    World News
  • Biden in Ukraine
    Vice President Biden urges Moscow to avoid further unrest in Ukraine
  • Pujols hits 500th home run
    Albert Pujols becomes the latest player to hit 500 home runs in his career
  • North Korean nuclear test?
    South Korea detects another possible nuclear test from North Korea
  • NYPD's Twitter campaign backfires
    NYPD's campaign designed to amicably engage New Yorkers and cops backfires horribly
    Watch Video

Related Videos:

  • Lyrids live stream in case of cloudy viewing conditions
    <iframe width="600" height="338" src="//;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • LADEE mission ends with impact on lunar surface
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518201429" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Kepler-186 Sol Comparison
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518200618" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!