I have Shuji Nakamara to thank for the cool blue LEDs that have adorned my fancy modded PC, and now it sounds like he may offer yet another reason for me to heap praise on the guy. The inventor of blue LEDs along with a Tokyo University team have successfully created hydrogen from water using galium nitride crystals and electrolysis. While the conversion was tiny, this could apparently lead to the creation of water-based fuel cells. According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper in Japan, the conversion efficiency need only be raised to over 20 percent before the technique can be commercialized. Definitely cooler than the blue LEDs. And I won't get in trouble for peeing on my keyboard.

Just to clarify, the unique thing here isn't the electrolysis (that's pretty old hat high school science), but that Nakamara used galium nitride crystals to do it. Also, I should say that while the conversion was inefficient, it doesn't mean it was "tiny", like I originally mentioned (just meant that the efficiency was tiny). [Thanks Brian!]

Blue LED inventor promises water fuel cells [The Inquirer]