French Researchers Discover Promising Hydrogen Storage Medium

A form of Lithium Borohydride, or LiBH4, and it contains 18% hydrogen by weight, but requires enormous pressure to create.

Published: 08-Dec-2007

Grenoble (France) - Scientists working at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) may have discovered a practical storage mechanism for hydrogen gas. It's a form of Lithium Borohydride, or LiBH4, and it contains 18% hydrogen by weight. Presently, it's created under enormous pressure, but is showing extreme promise as a new candidate for permanent hydrogen storage through future chemical refinement and a lower pressure system.

One of the problems existing hydrogen storage systems have today, outside of high pressure vessel storage, is that they are too stable. Once the hydrogen is chemically combined into the various substances being researched, they just don't like to give up their hydrogen. A new, and almost accidentally discovered form of LiBH4 is proving to be stable, yet unstable enough to offer what's being heralded as a breakthrough in hydrogen storage research.

In order to create the new form of LiBH4, an extremely high pressure of 200,000 bar is required. To put this pressure into perspective, the Earth's atmosphere at sea level is almost exactly 1 bar. This 200,000 bar number would be the equivalent force exerted upon the Earth by a mountain 80x the size of Mount Everest. Still, according to the press release, this pressure is not a record in the laboratory.


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