Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hydrogen tank lighter than battery

05.11.2008
Top hydrogen-absorbing metal alloy sixty percent lighter than battery

Dutch-sponsored researcher Robin Gremaud has shown that an alloy of the metals magnesium, titanium and nickel is excellent at absorbing hydrogen. This light alloy brings us a step closer to the everyday use of hydrogen as a source of fuel for powering vehicles.

A hydrogen ‘tank’ using this alloy would have a relative weight that is sixty percent less than a battery pack. In order to find the best alloy Gremaud developed a method which enabled simultaneous testing of thousands of samples of different metals for their capacity to absorb hydrogen. The British company Ilika in Southampton has shown considerable interest.

Hydrogen is considered to be a clean and therefore important fuel of the future. This gas can be used directly in cars in an internal combustion engine, like in BMW’s hydrogen vehicle, or it can be converted into electrical energy in so-called fuel cells, like in the Citaro buses in service in Amsterdam.

The major problem of using hydrogen in transport is the secure storage of this highly explosive gas. This can be realised by using metals that absorb the gas. However, a drawback of this approach is that it makes the hydrogen ‘tanks’ somewhat cumbersome.

The battery, the competing form of storage for electrical energy, comes off even worse. Driving four hundred kilometres with an electric car, such as the Toyota Prius, would require the car to carry 317 kilos of modern lithium batteries for its journey. With Gremaud’s light metal alloy this same distance would require a hydrogen tank of ‘only’ two hundred kilos. Although this new metal alloy is important for the development of hydrogen as a fuel, the discovery of the holy grail of hydrogen storage is still some way off.

Hydrogenography
In his research Gremaud made use of a technique for measuring the absorbance of hydrogen by metals, based on the phenomenon of ‘switchable mirrors’ discovered at the VU University Amsterdam. About ten years ago researchers at the VU discovered that certain materials lose their reflection by absorbing hydrogen. This technique became known as hydrogenography, or ‘writing with hydrogen’. Using this technique, Gremaud was able to simultaneously analyse the efficacy of thousands of different combinations of the metals magnesium, titanium and nickel. Traditional methods require separate testing for each alloy.

The analysis requires each of the three metals to be eroded from an individual source and deposited onto a transparent film in a thin layer of 100 nanometres using so-called sputtering deposition. This ensures that the three metals are deposited onto the film in many different ratios. When the film is exposed to different amounts of hydrogen, it is clearly visible, even to the naked eye, which composition of metals is best at absorbing hydrogen.

Gremaud is the first to use this method for measuring hydrogen absorption. The British company Ilika in Southampton wants to build a hydrogen analyser using this technique.

Gremaud’s research was funded by NWO Chemical Sciences as part of the National Programme ‘Sustainable Hydrogen’.

Kim van den Wijngaard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOA_7KDFJG_Eng

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast
20.02.2018 | University of Warwick

nachricht In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer
19.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>