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Metal Nitride Catalysts to Enhance Hydrogen Evolution Reactions

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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TEM image of catalyst ink comprised of Co<sub>0.6</sub>Mo<sub>1.4</sub>N<sub>2</sub> dispersed on carbon black
TEM image of catalyst ink comprised of Co0.6Mo1.4N2 dispersed on carbon black

Technology Marketing Summary

This novel and inexpensive composition of cobalt molybdenum nitride offers high catalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) - a critical reaction in a number of growing energy generation and utilization technologies. For example, water electrolysis can transform electrical energy produced by solar cells into chemical fuels that can be more easily stored and transported. HER is one of the two half-reactions in water electrolysis, and the efficiency of catalysts directly impacts the efficiency and cost of the process. The new catalyst overcomes the high cost of noble metals such as platinum that are usually used to catalyze the HER.


CoMoN2 was synthesized by a facile two-step ammonolysis. Its crystal structure consists of alternating layers of octahedra and trigonal prisms in a hexagonal unit cell, as determined by combined x-ray and neutron powder diffraction refinement. This method produces nanostructured CoMoN2 which exhibits superb HER activity. In laboratory tests, a current density of 10 mA/cm2 was achieved with a relatively small overpotential of about 200 mV.


Nanostructured CoMoN2 actively catalyzes the hydrogen evolution reaction without expensive starting materials or difficult syntheses.

Applications and Industries

The novel nanostructured non-noble metal catalyst can be used to catalyze the hydrogen evolution reaction for water electrolysis and photoelectrolysis, useful in everything from fuel cell electric vehicles to photovoltaics.

More Information

WO 2015/021019 published February 12, 2015

Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
BSA 13-24PrototypeAvailable01/10/201401/10/2014

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To: Poornima Upadhya<>