Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Solving Hydrogen Storage Limit to Power Green Cars

27.10.2009
Hydrogen fuel, because its only byproduct is steam, should be the ultimate in green alternatives to fossil fuels, but it hasn’t delivered on its promise yet because of one enormous stumbling block, storage.

Now a team of chemical engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has developed a computational model that shows that carbon nanotubes may offer a surprising solution. Results are presented in the current online issue of the journal, Applied Physics Letters.

“If this works as we expect, it’s perhaps no longer science fiction to hope for a briefcase-sized hydrogen battery to run a bus or car,” says UMass Amherst chemical engineering professor Dimitrios Maroudas. “Hydrogen storage has been a huge problem in the energy field for the past 10 years because no one has been able to demonstrate a truly viable storage medium. We’ve shown that it’s possible to achieve hydrogen storage capacity up to 8 percent by weight using carbon nanotubes. This is an outstanding level, higher by 1 percent than the 2010 United States Department of Energy target for on-board hydrogen storage systems,” Maroudas adds. “The method we propose may lead to breaking the bottleneck.”

The UMass Amherst computational model strongly lends itself to verification in laboratory experiments, say Maroudas and colleagues, and it provides ample testable hypotheses for future experimental research. “People had been losing faith, but I think our predictions show that hydrogen should be back on the table and in a most promising way. We come up with modeling predictions for technologically relevant problems every day, but this cute model is special,” he notes.

Specifically, Maroudas, his graduate student Andre Muniz and their collaborator M. Meyyappan, chief scientist for exploration technology at the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., show that proper arrangement of carbon nanotubes can overcome hydrogen transport limitations in nanotube bundles. It should also prevent ineffective and nonuniform hydrogenation, which is caused by nanotube swelling due to chemisorption of hydrogen atoms on the nanotube walls.

If one were to think of carbon nanotube bundles as something like a toothbrush, one strategy that Maroudas and colleagues recommend for holding hydrogen atoms most efficiently is that the brush arrangement should not be too dense. If it is, when the tubules swell they’ll block efficient passage and diffusion of the hydrogen, Maroudas explains. In addition to an optimal bundle density, further improvement can be achieved by optimizing the individual nanotube configurations to limit their swelling upon hydrogenation.

Following this approach should result in one hydrogen atom being able to chemisorb onto — form a chemical bond with — each carbon atom of the nanotubes, leading to 100 percent (atomically) storage capacity, he adds. This chemisorbed hydrogen, bound to the surface, can then be easily released by applying heat.

Maroudas says, “We propose recipes that will be very easy for others to try, by which carbon nanotubes can be arranged to accomplish practically 100 percent storage atomically, which is nearly 8 percent by weight. You can’t get any greener than hydrogen as fuel, and if the experiments we envision lead to new technology that’s economically viable, that’s as good as it gets.” This work was supported by a National Science Foundation grant and a Fulbright/CAPES scholarship to Muniz.

Dimitrios Maroudas | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent
25.09.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>