Modelling NiFe hydrogenases: nickel-based electrocatalysts for hydrogen production.
NiFe hydrogenases are unique enzymes that catalyze the H+/H2 interconversion with remarkable efficiency. The determination of the tridimensional structure of their active site (a sulfur-rich dinuclear nickel-iron cluster with diatomic cyanide and carbonyl ligands) has stimulated the synthesis of a variety of nickel-based complexes as potential electrocatalysts for hydrogen production. These catalysts may provide an adequate alternative to platinum. This paper gives an historical perspective of this biomimetic structural approach and then focusses on recently reported bio-inspired functional mimics displaying electrocatalytic activity for hydrogen production.