Silicon nanotubes for hydrogen storage in fuel cell vehicles

April 21, 2008
Silicon nanotubes for hydrogen storage in fuel cell vehicles
Researchers report hydrogen storage by silicon nanotubes exceeds that of their carbon couterparts. Silicon could play a large role in the emergence of "clean" hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Credit:

After powering the micro-electronics revolution, silicon could carve out an important new role in speeding the debut of ultra-clean fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen, researchers in China suggest.

Their calculations show for the first time that silicon nanotubes can store hydrogen more efficiently than their carbon nanotube counterparts. The study will appear in the April 24 issue of ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

Dapeng Cao and colleagues note that researchers have focused on the potential use of carbon nanotubes for storing hydrogen in fuel cell vehicles for years. Despite nanotubes’ great promise, they have been unable to meet the hydrogen storage goals proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. A more efficient material for hydrogen storage is needed, scientists say.

In the study, Cao’s group used powerful molecular modeling tools to compare the hydrogen storage capacities of newly developed silicon nanotubes to carbon nanotubes. They found that, in theory, silicon nanotubes can absorb hydrogen molecules more efficiently than carbon nanotubes under normal fuel cell operating conditions.

The calculations pave the way for tests to determine whether silicon nanotubes can meet government standards for hydrogen storage, the scientists note.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Better control of carbon nanotube 'growth' promising for future electronics

Related Stories

Splitsville for boron nitride nanotubes

June 28, 2011

( -- For Hollywood celebrities, the term "splitsville" usually means "check your prenup." For scientists wanting to mass-produce high quality nanoribbons from boron nitride nanotubes, "splitsville" could mean ...

Recommended for you

Physicists develop new technique to fathom 'smart' materials

November 26, 2015

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and Leiden University have found a way to better understand the properties of manmade 'smart' materials. Their method reveals how stacked layers in such a material work together to bring ...

Mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale

November 24, 2015

How much heat can two bodies exchange without touching? For over a century, scientists have been able to answer this question for virtually any pair of objects in the macroscopic world, from the rate at which a campfire can ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2009
If you know how to make silicon nanotubes tell me!
Neil Farbstein
1 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2009
If you know how to make silicon nanotubes tell me!

Neil Farbstein
So you can claim you invented it, maybe?
Just like all your other bogus research and breakthrough claims?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.