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 Cooling with the sun
25.06.2019 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht New combustion process - Record efficiency for a gas engine
21.06.2019 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

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: Fraunhofer IDMT demonstrates its method for acoustic quality inspection at »Sensor+Test 2019« in Nürnberg

From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.

Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

For a better climate in the cities: Start-up develops maintenance-free, evergreen moss façades

25.06.2019 | Architecture and Construction

An ion channel with a doorkeeper: The pH of calcium ions controls ion channel opening

25.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Cooling with the sun

25.06.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>