The What: Hydrogen is a fantastically clean fuel—obtained from water, and producing only water when it burns. Precious metals are usually needed to generate hydrogen however—which drives up the cost of producing it.

The Wow: Just the right combination of nickel oxide and carbon-nanotubes can pull of the same trick, researchers who engineered the new catalyst announced today. The new catalyst promises to drop the cost of hydrogen fuel for cars. The lab-scale setup can run on a 1.5-Volt AAA battery that could power your mouse.

Researchers published their work in the August 22 issue of Nature Communications.