Hydrogen storage can be improved

Jan 27, 2005

The storage of hydrogen in fuel cell powered cars can probably be greatly improved by increasing the working temperature of the fuel cell. With the use of magnesium powder, the storage of hydrogen can take place more efficiently and safely and at a higher temperature. This is the conclusion of Gijs Schimmel, who will defend his PhD thesis at TU Delft (Netherlands).

One of the main problems in the transition to a hydrogen economy is the storage of hydrogen, for use in vehicles, for example. Currently, this is done by storing the gas at high pressures or very low temperatures. Delft researcher, Gijs Schimmel, finds the high pressure option suitable for use in busses, "After all, on a bus there is space for a few high pressure cylinders. In cars this is not the case. Also, with such a tank, you are dealing with pressures of up to 350 bars, while in the case of LPG tanks, the pressure is restricted to 10 bars for safety reasons."

During his research at the Delft Institute for Sustainable Energy, Schimmel therefore studied the possibilities of the storage of hydrogen in powdered magnesium. Hydrogen storage in this kind of metal hydrides has been researched for a long time, but according to Schimmel, the problem remains that too much energy and too high a temperature is needed to extract the hydrogen from the compound, which negatively effects the efficiency of the process. Schimmel points out that an adjustment in the fuel cell itself may provide a solution. If the fuel cell were to work at a higher temperature than normal (between 200 and 300 °C in stead of 80 °C for most current fuel cells), then the ‘excess heat’ from the fuel cell could be used to efficiently extract hydrogen from the storage tank.

In this way, the storage of hydrogen using magnesium powder could be a very interesting option. An additional advantage of a higher working temperature is that less deterioration of the catalysts takes place. The latter is also the reason that there is a great demand for new types of fuel cells. Schimmel is optimistic, “But like with many other developments involving hydrogen, it always remains to be seen whether the high expectations are met. If this idea works, a method and an infrastructure would also have to be developed to be able to ‘fill up’ on magnesium hydride.”

TU Delft scientists are also looking at completely different ways of storing hydrogen. One of these methods involves so-called gas hydrates, a kind of ice that can trap hydrogen. Recently Delft researchers showed that this can take place under relatively low pressures (less than 10 bars). Another related method is the possibility of storing hydrogen in carbon nano-tubes. However, in his research, Schimmel concluded that this method was probably not feasible.

Source: Delft University of Technology

Explore further: Microsoft beefs up security protection in Windows 10

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Microsoft beefs up security protection in Windows 10

17 hours ago

What Microsoft users in business care deeply about—-a system architecture that supports efforts to get their work done efficiently; a work-centric menu to quickly access projects rather than weather readings ...

US official: Auto safety agency under review

Oct 24, 2014

Transportation officials are reviewing the "safety culture" of the U.S. agency that oversees auto recalls, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized ...

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

Oct 24, 2014

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

Ebola.com domain sold for big payout

Oct 24, 2014

The owners of the website Ebola.com have scored a big payday with the outbreak of the epidemic, selling the domain for more than $200,000 in cash and stock.

Hacker gets prison for cyberattack stealing $9.4M

Oct 24, 2014

An Estonian man who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a 2008 cyberattack on a credit card processing company that enabled hackers to steal $9.4 million has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a federal judge in Atlanta.

Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR

Oct 24, 2014

Two messages from Magic Leap: Most of us know that a world with dragons and unicorns, elves and fairies is just a better world. The other message: Technology can be mindboggingly awesome. When the two ...

User comments : 0