On the road to a safer hydrogen vehicle

16 June 2020

New material yields impressive storage performance for hydrogen and methane.

US researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, have developed a material which they say can store significantly more hydrogen and methane than conventional adsorbents, the material also allows storage at safer pressures and lower costs. This could bring hydrogen or methane powered vehicles a step closer, as currently these gases have to be carried under high pressure for a vehicle to operate.  

Based on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) the material comprises organic molecules and metal clusters that self-assemble to form multi-dimensional, highly crystalline porous frameworks. The MOFs contain tri-aluminium nodes and a large hexadentate aromatic linker. The team says that one gram of the material has a surface area that would cover 1.3 football fields. Combing experimentation and molecular simulation; researchers showed that the material with its high porosity and surface area optimises both mass and size. The research teams added that the material yielded impressive storage performance for hydrogen and methane both in term of mass and size.

‘We can store tremendous amounts of hydrogen and methane within the pores of the MOFs and deliver them to the engine of a vehicle at lower pressures then needed for the current fuel cell vehicles,’ the researchers said.

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