eldavojohn writes "As detailed in the journal Science (abstract), a new compound composed of cobalt, iron and oxygen with other metals presents us with the most efficient way (found so far) of splitting oxygen atoms from water. These ten known compounds provide a reactivity rate that is at least an order of magnitude higher than what is currently known as the gold standard in such reactions. During their research, the team discovered that the reactivity is dependent on the configuration of the outermost electron of transition metal ions, which they exploited to develop this efficient catalyst. For rechargeable batteries and hydrogen fuel, this is exciting work from MIT's Jin Suntivich, Kevin J. May, Hubert A. Gasteiger, and Yang Shao-Horn, and the University of Texas's John B. Goodenough."