Stanford scientists have developed an inexpensive, emissions-free device that can produce hydrogen through water electrolysis that runs on a 1.5-volt AAA battery. The battery transfers an electrical current through nickel and iron electrodes that divide water into hydrogen and oxygen.
This device is the first time non-precious metal catalysts have been used to split water with a low voltage. By using a nickel/nickel-oxide catalyst, the scientists were able to significantly reduce the voltage, which could lead to cost savings of electricity for hydrogen producers. The device durability needs to be improved before it could be utilized to power fuel cells in zero-emissions vehicles.