Scientists discover record-breaking hydrogen storage materials for use in fuel cells

November 12, 2007

Scientists at the University of Virginia have discovered a new class of hydrogen storage materials that could make the storage and transportation of energy much more efficient — and affordable — through higher-performing hydrogen fuel cells.

Bellave S. Shivaram and Adam B. Phillips, the U.Va. physicists who invented the new materials, will present their finding today at the International Symposium on Materials Issues in a Hydrogen Economy at the Omni Hotel in Richmond, Va.

“In terms of hydrogen absorption, these materials could prove a world record,” Phillips said. “Most materials today absorb only 7 to 8 percent of hydrogen by weight, and only at cryogenic [extremely low] temperatures. Our materials absorb hydrogen up to 14 percent by weight at room temperature. By absorbing twice as much hydrogen, the new materials could help make the dream of a hydrogen economy come true.”

In the quest for alternative fuels, U.Va.’s new materials potentially could provide a highly affordable solution to energy storage and transportation problems with a wide variety of applications. They absorb a much higher percentage of hydrogen than predecessor materials while exhibiting faster kinetics at room temperature and much lower pressures, and are inexpensive and simple to produce.

“These materials are the next generation in hydrogen fuel storage materials, unlike any others we have seen before,” Shivaram said. “They have passed every litmus test that we have performed, and we believe they have the potential to have a large impact.”

The inventors believe the novel materials will translate to the marketplace and are working with the U.Va. Patent Foundation to patent their discovery.

“The U.Va. Patent Foundation is very excited to be working with a material that one day may be used by millions in everyday life,” said Chris Harris, senior licensing manager for the U.Va. Patent Foundation. “Dr. Phillips and Dr. Shivaram have made an incredible breakthrough in the area of hydrogen absorption.”

Source: University of Virginia

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loboy
not rated yet Nov 12, 2007
So what is the material? An alloy of iron and lathanide, or maybe a nickel sponge? What is the surface area of the material to volume of gas ratio? Is the material novel in its atomic makeup or in its physical characteristics, or both?
paulo
1 / 5 (1) Nov 12, 2007
why would we want to keep buying fuel? power comes free from the sun.
solar panels on the house and battery electric car (increases range up to 29%), is a much more efficient and environmentally friendly way to go.
Graeme
4 / 5 (1) Nov 12, 2007
It's a carbon metal complex attached to a substrate according to sciencedayly.
billyswong
not rated yet Nov 13, 2007
The article should have talked a bit more about what kind of material it is. (But can't blame physorg, since U.Va. seems didn't release those information so far...)
Vlasev
5 / 5 (2) Nov 13, 2007
Although exciting news one should not forget Hydrogen is used as energy carrier. You have to put energy to isolate pure Hydrogen, then you have to put energy to store it. Then comes the energy for transportation of the Hydrygen and it's container. So the overall picture seems pretty ugly to me.
mcostolo
5 / 5 (2) Nov 13, 2007
I've done a fair amount of hydrogen storage research. Until they publish a structure I remain underwhelmed. Especially in consideration of the work that Yaghi (UCLA) is doing with Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) and more recently covalent organic frameworks (COFs).

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