The system uses a fine powder called metal hydride to absorb hydrogen gas. The researchers have created the system's heat exchanger, which circulates coolant through tubes and uses fins to remove heat generated as the hydrogen is absorbed by the powder.
The heat exchanger is critical because the system stops absorbing hydrogen effectively if it overheats, said Issam Mudawar, a professor of mechanical engineering who is leading the research.
"The hydride produces an enormous amount of heat," Mudawar said. "It would take a minimum of 40 minutes to fill the tank without cooling, and that would be entirely impractical."
Researchers envision a system that would enable motorists to fill their car with hydrogen within a few minutes. The hydrogen would then be used to power a fuel cell to generate electricity to drive an electric motor.
The research, funded by General Motors Corp. and directed by GM researchers Darsh Kumar, Michael Herrmann and Abbas Nazri, is based at the Hydrogen Systems Laboratory at Purdue's Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories. In February, the team applied for three provisional patents related to this technology.
"The idea is to have a system that fills the tank and at the same time uses accessory connectors that supply coolant to extract the heat," said Mudawar, who is working with mechanical engineering graduate student Milan Visaria and Timothée Pourpoint, a research assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics and manager of the Hydrogen Systems Laboratory. "This presented an engineering challenge because we had to figure out how to fill the fuel vessel with hydrogen quickly while also removing the heat efficiently. The problem is, nobody had ever designed this type of heat exchanger before. It's a whole new animal that we designed from scratch."
The metal hydride is contained in compartments inside the storage "pressure vessel." Hydrogen gas is pumped into the vessel at high pressure and absorbed by the powder.
"This process is reversible, meaning the hydrogen gas may be released from the metal hydride by decreasing the pressure in the storage vessel," Mudawar said. "The heat exchanger is fitted inside the hydrogen storage pressure vessel. Due to space constraints, it is essential that the heat exchanger occupy the least volume to maximize room for hydrogen storage."
Conventional automotive coolant flows through a U-shaped tube traversing the length of the pressure vessel and heat exchanger. The heat exchanger, which is made mostly of aluminum, contains a network of thin fins that provide an efficient cooling path between the metal hydride and the coolant.
"This milestone paves the way for practical on-board hydrogen storage systems that can be charged multiple times in much the same way a gasoline tank is charged today," said Kumar, a researcher at GM's Chemical & Environmental Sciences Laboratory and the GM R&D Center in Warren, Mich. "As newer and better metal hydrides are developed by research teams worldwide, the heat exchanger design will provide a ready solution for the automobile industry."
The researchers have developed the system over the past two years. Because metal hydride reacts readily with both air and moisture, the system must be assembled in an airtight chamber, Pourpoint said.
Research activities at the hydrogen laboratory involve faculty members from the schools of aeronautics and astronautics, mechanical engineering, and electrical and computer engineering.Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Self-driving cars for country roads
07.05.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL
When your car knows how you feel
20.12.2017 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences