Fast-Release Hydrogen Storage Compound Developed

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's discovery involving the use of ammonia borane could have implications for onboard hydrogen storage in fuel cell vehicles.

Published: 25-Mar-2005

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the US have found a way to release hydrogen from a solid compound almost 100 times faster than was previously possible.

The discovery, which could have major implications for onboard hydrogen storage in fuel cell vehicles, involves the use of ammonia borane. This compound is known to release hydrogen at temperatures below 80 degrees Celsius, but at an extremely slow rate. But, say PNNL researchers Tom Autrey and Anna Gutowska, β€œIn the nanophase, the hydrogen comes off very fast – approximately 100 times faster compared to conventional bulk ammonia borane.” Nanoscience treatment of borane also avoids volatile chemicals produced at the bulk scale by ammonia borane, which damage fuel cell membranes.

A patent is pending on a potentially viable system for reversing the hydrogen release, which would allow the hydrogen storage material to be regenerated for a longer lifetime.

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