Researchers around the world are looking for ways to enhance the efficiency and lower the cost of hydrogen production, particularly by improving the catalysts involved. A research team from City University of Hong Kong has developed a new, ultra-stable hydrogen evolution reaction electrocatalyst, which is based on two-dimensional mineral gel nanosheets and does not contain any precious metals. The catalyst can be produced in large scale and can help achieve a lower hydrogen price in the future.Electrochemical hydrogen evolution reaction is a widely used hydrogen-generation method. But commercial HER electrocatalysts are made from precious metals, which are expensive. On the other hand, single-atom catalysts have promising potential in catalytic HER applications because of their high activity, maximised atomic efficiency, and minimised catalyst usage. But the conventional fabrication process of single-atom catalysts is complicated. It generally involves introducing the targeted single-atom metal to the substrate precursor followed by thermal treatment, usually higher than 700 degree Celsius which requires a lot of energy and time.In this regard, a research team co-led by CityU materials scientists have developed an innovative, cost-effective and energy-efficient way to produce a highly efficient HER single-atom electrocatalyst that uses precious-metal-free mineral hydrogel nanosheets as a precursor.