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Argonne National Laboratory


Argonne Impacts State by State

Argonne’s collaborations in Arkansas and across the United States have led to groundbreaking discoveries and development of new technologies that help meet the nation’s needs for sustainable energy, economic prosperity, and security.

Argonne, Arkansas scientists design efficient, cost-effective catalysts that help produce hydrogen fuel

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have designed nanoparticles that act as catalysts, making the process of water electrolysis more efficient in producing hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen can be used in cars, houses, for portable power and in many more applications. (Image by Shutterstock/Literator.)

Researchers at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, partnering with a team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, have found that nanoparticles composed of nickel and iron are more efficient and cost-effective than other, more costly metals when used as catalysts in producing hydrogen fuel.

Led by U of A physical chemist Jingyi Chen and chemical engineer Lauren Greenlee, the team designed nanoparticles that act as catalysts during water electrolysis, breaking water molecules apart by passing an electric current over them and making the process more efficient. Composed of an iron and nickel shell around a nickel core, the nanoparticles interact with the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, weakening their bond and increasing the efficiency of the reaction. Nickel and iron are also less costly than other catalysts, which are made from scarce materials.

The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory also participated in the study.

Argonne, Arkansas engineers to work on cybersecurity for systems linking solar power to grid

Researchers from Argonne and the University of Arkansas are part of a multi-institutional team working to develop systems to protect solar photovoltaic systems from cyberattack. (Image by Shutterstock/fuyu liu.)

Scientists from the University of Arkansas have been chosen to lead a multi-institutional team that includes Argonne, universities, laboratories and other entities in an effort to design systems that will protect solar technologies from cyberattack. The DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office awarded the university a $3.6 million grant to implement the initiative.

The team is charged with developing cybersecurity systems for photovoltaic (PV) energy technology and devices, particularly solar PV inverters, the electronic devices that link solar power arrays to the grid. The initiative will address such issues as supply chain security; real-time intrusion detection; identifying and mitigating vulnerability; control system security; and safety protocols.

Other participants include General Electric, the University of Georgia, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Texas A&M University-Kingsville and two Arkansas-based companies, Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Today’s Power.