Revealing new applications for carbon nanomaterials in hydrogen storage
An international research team, involving Professor Rajeev Ahuja at Uppsala University and researchers in the USA, set out to understand the mechanism behind the catalytic effects of carbon nanomaterials.
Experimental and theoretical efforts were combined in a synergistic approach and the results, published this week in the ASAP section of the journal Nano Letters, will fasten efforts to develop new catalysts.
Our energy-hungry world has become increasingly dependent on new methods to store and convert energy for new, environmentally friendly modes of transportation and electrical energy generation as well as for portable electronics. Mobility — the transport of people and goods — is a socioeconomic reality that will surely increase in the coming years. Hydrogen, which can be produced with little or no harmful emissions, has been projected as a long term solution for a secure energy future. Research into safe and efficient means of hydrogen production, storage, and use is essential to make the "hydrogen economy" a reality.
Car manufactures are showing interest in using solid state hydrogen storage materials, e.g. NaAlH4, as new energy storage media. The functional properties of these materials however have to be improved by catalysts. The effect of earlier catalysts, e.g. Ti, has been difficult to explain. The current results give an unambiguous understanding of the mechanism at work in the new carbon nanomaterial catalysts.
The researchers set out to understand the mechanism behind the catalytic effects of carbon nanomaterials, specifically on the example of sodium alanate, which is a popular material for hydrogen storage studies.
"Now that the catalytic capabilities of carbon nanomaterials have been demonstrated so clearly and the mechanism that makes this behaviour possible has been understood, we expect a strong impulse on putting this effect to use in practical applications.", says Professor Rajeev Ahuja.
"Certainly, our findings have the strongest impact in the field of hydrogen storage, but beyond that, the same mechanism that we revealed can make carbon nanomaterials a very important catalyst in many other systems as well."
The extensive simulations were performed at Uppsala University's Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science (UPPMAX).
Rajeev Ahuja | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
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
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...
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...
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...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...