A possible alternative to fossil fuels may not be too far into the future.

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: New Catalyst Produces Hydrogen from Water: “The promise of a hydrogen economy, which would lessen dependence on nonrenewable energy sources such as fossil fuels, hinges on the ability to produce and store large amounts of the clean-burning element. New results from experiments on a novel catalyst suggest that it can be used to coax hydrogen from water without the need for severe reaction conditions.

‘We have discovered a catalyst that can produce ready quantities of hydrogen without the need for extreme cold temperatures or high pressures, which are often required in other production and storage methods,’ remarks Mahdi Abu-Omar of Purdue University. The compound he and his colleagues used is a so-called coordination complex based on the metal rhenium. Originally looking for a method to convert chemicals called organosilanes into silanols, the team combined organosilanes and water in the presence of the rhenium complex at ambient temperature and pressure. After an hour, the reaction had produced hydrogen gas in addition to silanols. According to a report published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the method generates a large amount of hydrogen compared to the amount of water used.” – Scientific American More…