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Functionalized Metallic Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

As hydrogen fuel cell technologies advance, processes for producing hydrogen gas (H2) cheaply and efficiently are becoming increasingly important. Various methods exist to produce hydrogen, however some processes such as natural gas reformation have deleterious effects to air quality in the environment. Electrocatalytic water splitting is proving to be a cleaner, renewable alternative with simple byproducts of hydrogen and oxygen and process solutions becoming increasingly available for industry application. One such process employs the cathodic reaction in electrochemical water splitting known as the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER). Until now, the noble metal platinum has been the best catalyst for the HER process, however, it is very expensive, and scientists are actively hunting for more cost-effective, practical alternatives.


An attractive and more affordable suggested catalyst for HER is molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a transition metal chalcogenide with reactive sites located on its surface. However, despite its enhanced efficiencies in hydrogen evolution, a technological hurdle still exists in overcoming MoS2's thermodynamic proclivity to return to a semiconducting state with temperature and/or time, thereby reducing its long-term performance level as an effective catalyst. NREL researchers have found an advantageous solution to this impediment through the process of functionalizing the surface of nanosheets of metallic MoS2 with certain organic phenyl rings containing electron-donating groups.  The resulting nanosheets yield far more stability than the standard, unfunctionalized MoS2 and offer a reliable alternative for utilization in hydrogen generation applications.

  • Cost savings in hydrogen production
  • A resilient metallic chalcogenide substitute for electrocatalysis
Applications and Industries
  • HPEV fuel production
  • Petroleum Refining
  • Aerospace
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Semiconductor manufacturing
More Information
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
ROI 18-08PrototypeAvailable06/13/201806/13/2018

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To: Bill Hadley<>