A catalyst for hydrogen generation from an alkaline aqueous solution of hydrogen containing salts comprising a silicon-based ceramic surface covered with a mixture of metals known as transition metals and noble metals. The silicon-based ceramic surface may be self-supporting or may be deposited as a thin film on a carbonaceous substrate. The carbonaceous surface may be self-supporting or be in the form of a film that is supported on a substrate of a fourth material, where the fourth material has the function of providing physical support to the substrate. The said carbonaceous substrate can be made from a solid material or from a porous structure, of which carbon nanotube paper, also known as Bucky paper, is one example.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with government support under Grant No. DE-FC26-03NT41967 awarded by the National Energy Technology Laboratory-Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.