The search for new materials for hydrogen storage

The search for new materials for hydrogen storage
Four types of materials studied in the dissertation: fullerene C60, carbon nanotubes, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), and fullerene C60 encapsulated inside carbon nanotubes.

(—Hydrogen is the ideal fuel for new types of fuel cell vehicles, but one problem is how to store hydrogen. In his doctoral dissertation Serhiy Luzan studies new types of materials for hydrogen storage. He also shows that new materials with interesting properties can be synthesized by the reaction of hydrogen with carbon nano-structured materials.

New car engines that run on hydrogen produce only water as exhaust and are three to four times more efficient than ordinary internal combustion engines. Just one "small" problem is hampering the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles: there is no good method for storing sufficient amounts of hydrogen, as it is a gas of very .

Serhiy Luzan devotes the first part of his dissertation to studies of in exciting new types of materials: metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). They consist of zinc- and cobalt-based linked together via organic linkers, and they are extremely porous. One gram of MOF has a hydrogen-absorbing surface that is larger than a football field! Dozens of new MOF materials are synthesized each year, which is highly promising for the next generation of .

Serhiy studied the hydrogen absorption of several new MOFs and researched the effects of different surface areas, pore volumes, and pore forms on the hydrogen storage parameters. MOFs can store record amounts of hydrogen at very low temperatures, but the hydrogen capacity at room temperature is not good enough. Luzan therefore studied new methods to enhance this capacity. Addition of metal catalysts has previously been reported to improve hydrogen storage considerably.

"But in my study, the effect of metal catalysts addition on hydrogen absorption in MOFs was not confirmed," says Serhihy Luzan.

Hydrogen is of interest not only as a fuel but also for chemical modification of nano-structured , such as carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, and . Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms. Carbon nanotubes also consist of pure carbon, in the form of graphene layers rolled into a cylinder. Fullerene, C60, consist of sixty carbon atoms arranged in five- or six-vertices figures, just like the pattern on a soccer ball. There are carbon materials that are stronger than steel, conduct current better than copper, and diffuse heat better than diamond.

In the second part of the dissertation Luzan describes the materials he created by the reaction of hydrogen with fullerenes and carbon nanotubes.

Luzan studied the reaction between fullerene C60 and hydrogen at elevated temperatures and hydrogen pressures, with and without the addition of . The reaction resulted in the formation of hydrogenated fullerenes, C60Hx. Upon extended hydrogen treatment, the fullerene structure fragmented and collapsed. This outcome shows that it is possible to break down fullerenes stepwise into smaller cup-like molecules, which are stabilized by hydrogen atoms. This is a structure that was previously difficult to achieve.

"With this method, we should be able to use as a relatively inexpensive source material for creating new molecules that hopefully would retain interesting properties from the original carbon nano-material," says Serhihy Luzan.

Hydrogenated graphene (graphane) is expected to be an ideal material for new carbon-based electronics, but graphane is difficult to synthesize by a direct reaction between graphene and hydrogen. It is much easier first to hydrogenate carbon nanotubes and then to cut them along the tube axis into so-called nanoribbons, which have hydrogen covalently bonded to the surface.

Luzan's experiments showed that the reaction between single-wall carbon nanotubes and is possible if a suitable catalyst is used, and he was able to observe that some of the nanotubes were converted to graphene or graphane nanoribbons.

Explore further

Hydrogen opens the road to graphene ... and graphane

More information:
Provided by Umea University
Citation: The search for new materials for hydrogen storage (2012, September 20) retrieved 21 July 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Sep 20, 2012
Nice, whomever comes up with the best hydrogen storage solution
will make a TON of money !

Sep 20, 2012
We should invest http://www.youtub...G9raN_2U and no hydrogen storage material will be required (the consumption of hydrogen with E-Cat is very low). The parasites, who just generate research places for themselves will never learn from history.

I'll invest in cold fusion when you invest in pixie dust and unicorn flatulence.

If there were such a thing as cold fusion the boffins at Cambridge, Oxford, Sorbonne, MIT, Stanford, Georgia Tech or Rensselaer would have found it, patented it and sold it.

There has never been a technology successfully hidden from the world. Tesla conspirators notwithstanding.

Sep 20, 2012
Suggest: On-Board H2 electrolysis! No storage density issues, and the ICE could have a 'closed loop' exhaust system with No Exhaust, as even burning H2, NO is produced . . .
Not an elixer ,but the H2 Age, which have began 40 years ago, can begin in small steps, and in the process, begin the arduous task of training mechanics, technicians, engineers, teachers, in the handling of H2 Systems; Safety, application, and open the path to many discoveries and Inventions!
Training is critical,as are designing means for Adaptation to the millions of ICEs that already exist!
Learning to more rapidly 'dissolve Oxygen in Water, will be a necessity as well to increase the Oxygen to H2 ration, for a more efficient combustion of H2.
Nothing will happen by itself, but It Must Happen to reduce CO2 and other Earth Warming gases, toxins!

Roy J Stewart,
Phoenix AZ

Sep 20, 2012
Fuel cell research may yet yield another alternative.It's relatively young,and still retains its attactments to steel or aluminum engines. Perhaps,better ceramics or composites might be the answer to storage problems and engine mechanics.

Sep 23, 2012
we could get more out of our energy if more people lived closer to their work. Zoning laws need to be closely looked at to include mixed commercial/residential light/industrial along with housing for different income demographics in the same general area. This can be done now instead of relying on technical maybe's.

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