A new solution for storing hydrogen fuel for alternative energy

May 21, 2014, American Chemical Society
A new solution for storing hydrogen fuel for alternative energy

Turning the "hydrogen economy" concept into a reality, even on a small scale, has been a bumpy road, but scientists are developing a novel way to store hydrogen to smooth out the long-awaited transition away from fossil fuels. Their report on a new solid, stable material that can pack in a large amount of hydrogen that can be used as a fuel appears in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials.

Umit B. Demirci and colleagues explain that storing hydrogen in solids is a recent development and a promising step toward building a hydrogen economy. That's the idea originated in the 1970s and promoted by former President George W. Bush that we replace with hydrogen, which can serve as a clean fuel. Although a promising alternative to conventional energy sources, hydrogen has posed a number of technological challenges that scientists are still overcoming. One of those issues has to do with storage.

Previously, researchers were focused on developing hydrogen-containing liquids or compressing it in gas form. Now, solid storage is showing potential for holding hydrogen in a safe, stable and efficient way. In the latest development on this front, Demirci's team looked to a new kind of material.

They figured out a way to make a novel crystal phase of a material containing lithium, boron and the key ingredient, hydrogen. To check how they could get the hydrogen back out of the material, the scientists heated it and found that it released easily, quickly and only traces of unwanted by-products.

Explore further: Recycling industrial waste water: Scientists discover a new method of producing hydrogen

More information: "Lithium Hydrazinidoborane: A Polymorphic Material with Potential for Chemical Hydrogen Storage" Chem. Mater., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/cm500980b

Abstract
Herein, we describe the synthesis and characterization (chemical, structural, and thermal) of a new crystal phase of lithium hydrazinidoborane (LiN2H4BH3, LiHB), which is a new material for solid-state chemical hydrogen storage. We put in evidence that lithium hydrazinidoborane is a polymorphic material, with a stable low-temperature phase and a metastable high-temperature phase. The former is called β-LiHB and the latter α-LiHB. Results from DSC and XRD showed that the transition phase occurs at around 90 °C. On this basis, the crystal structure of the novel β-LiHB phase was solved. The potential of this material for solid-state chemical hydrogen storage was verified by TGA, DSC, and isothermal dehydrogenations. Upon the formation of the α-LiHB phase, the borane dehydrogenates. At 150 °C, it is able to generate 10 wt % of pure H2 while a solid residue consisting of polymers with linear and cyclic units forms. Reaction mechanisms and formation of bis(lithium hydrazide) of diborane [(LiN2H3)2BH2]+[BH4]− as a reaction intermediate are tentatively proposed to highlight the decomposition of β-LiHB in our conditions.

Related Stories

Producing hydrogen from water with carbon / charcoal powder

August 28, 2013

In the latest advance in efforts to find an inexpensive way to make hydrogen from ordinary water—one of the keys to the much-discussed "hydrogen economy"—scientists are reporting that powder from high-grade charcoal and ...

Chemists develop liquid-based hydrogen storage material

November 22, 2011

University of Oregon chemists have developed a boron-nitrogen-based liquid-phase storage material for hydrogen that works safely at room temperature and is both air- and moisture-stable -- an accomplishment that offers a ...

Recommended for you

Wearable device measures cortisol in sweat

July 20, 2018

The hormone cortisol rises and falls naturally throughout the day and can spike in response to stress, but current methods for measuring cortisol levels require waiting several days for results from a lab. By the time a person ...

Researchers report two-faced Janus membrane applications

July 20, 2018

Named for the mythical god with two faces, Janus membranes—double-sided membranes that serve as gatekeepers between two substances—have emerged as a material with potential industrial uses. Creating two distinct "faces" ...

Chemists characterize the fatal fungus among us

July 19, 2018

Life-threatening fungal infections affect more than two million people worldwide. Effective antifungal medications are very limited. Until now, one of the major challenges is that the fungal cell wall is poorly understood, ...

Infrared sensor as new method for drug discovery

July 19, 2018

Using an infrared sensor, biophysicists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have succeeded in analysing quickly and easily which active agents affect the structure of proteins and how long that effect lasts. Thus, Prof Dr. ...

0 comments

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.