2020 Charles Hatchett Award

Winners announced for the best paper on the science and technology of niobium-based materials.

Hydrogen Evolution Reaction

This year’s Charles Hatchett Award recognises an excellent proof of concept study. The work looks at the electrocatalytic performance of 2D niobium disulphide, with additional niobium doping, in the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction. The results are exceptional, showing the contribution of niobium in enhancing the electrochemical performance of the catalyst.

The significance of this work is that there is an opportunity to develop new 2D metallic materials for catalysts in industrial water electrolysers, which are important sources of hydrogen for use in zero carbon energy applications.


Market potential

The winning authors represent six countries and the paper was commended by the International Panel for its potential commercial and societal impacts. The Charles Hatchett Award is sponsored by CBMM, the premier supplier of niobium products and technology, and the selection process is based on technical excellence and originality. It also takes into account the societal, economic and environmental advantages of any proposed application of niobium.

The 2020 Charles Hatchett winners are Jieun Yang (USA), Abdul Rahman Mohmad (Malaysia), Yan Wang (USA), Raymond Fullon (USA), Xiuju Song (USA/China), Fang Zhao (USA), Ibrahim Bozkurt (USA), Mathias Augustin (UK), Elton J. G. Santos (UK), Hyeon Suk Shin (Republic of Korea), Wenjing Zhang (China), Damien Voiry (France), Hu Young Jeong (Republic of Korea) & Manish Chhowalla (UK), for their paper:


‘Ultrahigh-current-density niobium disulphide catalysts for hydrogen evolution’

Nature Materials, 18 (2019), 1309-1314

This paper deals with an important research topic with significant potential commercial and social benefits involving the use of niobium: the technical content is first class and attempts are made to explain the mechanism at the atomic scale by which this material achieves the high performance levels observed.

The International Panel for the Charles Hatchett Award

Green technology

The potential market for this technology is significant as hydrogen power is being explored for use as an alternative to fossil fuels, complementing battery power in transport applications including automobiles, trucks and trains. The material is clearly a viable replacement for the platinum and iridium currently used in industrial electrolysers. Not only does niobium enhance the performance of the catalyst, it brings the added benefits of reduced cost and secure supply. This technology will surely contribute to our goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Premier Awards Dinner

The annual Award, now in its 42nd year, is administered by Beta Technology. The winners will be presented with their medals at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) 2020 Premier Awards Dinner, to be held in London on 3rd December.


You can find out more about the Charles Hatchett Award, including this year’s winning paper by visiting the Award website.