Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New storage system design brings hydrogen cars closer to reality

06.04.2009
Researchers have developed a critical part of a hydrogen storage system for cars that makes it possible to fill up a vehicle's fuel tank within five minutes with enough hydrogen to drive 300 miles.

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, venere@purdue.edu
Sources: Issam Mudawar, (765) 494-5705, mudawar@ecn.purdue.edu
Darsh Kumar, (586) 986-1614, sudarshan.kumar@gm.com
Timothée Pourpoint, 765-494-1541, timothee@purdue.edu
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht The car of the future – sleeper cars and travelling offices too?
18.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Self-driving cars for country roads
07.05.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>