In June, Jacob Som published a paper investigating nickel oxide’s efficacy as an electrocatalyst to produce hydrogen as an energy carrier – research he hopes can help generate sustainable energy solutions for the U.S. as well as his native Ghana.

“This technology is already out there, but it’s costly because the commercial electrocatalysts being used, like platinum, are expensive,” said Som, a doctoral student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) who conducted the research as part of a National Science Foundation-supported collaboration with Cornell. “Our research is trying to develop inexpensive materials to do the same thing. I’m hoping my research paves the way to develop these kinds of technologies and make it more feasible and more accessible to everyone.”

During the past year, students and faculty at Cornell and N.C. A&T have been partnering on a research project built around two shared goals: increasing diversity in the field of materials science and transforming the way the world generates and stores energy.

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