Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find new way to store hydrogen fuel

07.01.2004


University of Chicago scientists have proposed a new method for storing hydrogen fuel in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



The lack of practical storage methods has hindered the more widespread use of hydrogen fuels, which are both renewable and environmentally clean. The most popular storage methods-liquid hydrogen and compressed hydrogen-require that the fuel be kept at extremely low temperatures or high pressures. But the University of Chicago’s Wendy Mao and David Mao have formed icy materials made of molecular hydrogen that require less stringent temperature and pressure storage conditions.

"This new class of compounds offers a possible alternative route for technologically useful hydrogen storage," said Russell Hemley, Senior Staff Scientist at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The findings also could help explain how hydrogen becomes incorporated in growing planetary bodies, he said.


The father-daughter team synthesized compounds made of hydrogen and water, hydrogen and methane, and hydrogen and octane in a diamond-anvil cell, which researchers often use to simulate the high pressures found far beneath Earth’s surface.

The hydrogen-water experiments produced the best results. "The hydrogen-water system has already yielded three compounds so far, with more likely to be found," said Wendy Mao, a graduate student in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago.

The compound that holds the most promise for hydrogen storage, called a hydrogen clathrate hydrate, was synthesized at pressures between 20,000 and 30,000 atmospheres and temperatures of minus 207 degrees Fahrenheit. More importantly, the compound remains stable at atmospheric pressure and a temperature of minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which liquid nitrogen boils.

"We thought that would be economically very feasible. Liquid nitrogen is easy and cheap to make," Wendy Mao said.

The hydrogen in a clathrate can be released when heated to 207 degrees Fahrenheit. The clathrate’s environmentally friendly byproduct: water.

David Mao noted that while petroleum-based fuels will eventually run out, the supply of hydrogen is limitless. "Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe," said David Mao, a Visiting Scientist in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. If the new method of storing hydrogen fuel works as expected, "that’s going to change everyone’s life in a big way," he said.

The Maos have applied for a patent on their hydrogen clathrate synthesis technique, but one problem still remains: how to make the clathrates in quantities sufficient to power a car. "We’ve only made them in very small amounts in diamond-anvil cells," Wendy Mao said. The Carnegie Institution’s Hemley noted that the clathrates can be produced in gas pressure devices as well as diamond-anvil cells.

In the realm of planetary science, the study helps explain how some of Jupiter’s moons could have incorporated hydrogen during their formation. Scientists once thought that the moons were incapable of retaining hydrogen during their formation. Now it appears that Callisto, Ganymede and especially Europa contain large quantities of water ice, which would require the presence of hydrogen. The hydrogen clathrates that the Maos synthesized in the laboratory could have formed naturally under the temperature and pressure conditions expected to prevail inside these Jovian moons, Wendy Mao said.

Steve Koppes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www-news.uchicago.edu/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Failures in power grids: Dynamically induced cascades
25.05.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Beyond the limits of conventional electronics: stable organic molecular nanowires
24.05.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

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...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

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...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

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...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

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...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>