Sponge like breakthrough could have lasting impact on hydrogen vehicle manufacturing

Scientists believe they have developed a method of storing gas that could revolutionise hydrogen powered vehicles.

A research team has been working on a new material made from organic molecules and metal ions which they believe is able to hold and release large quantities of hydrogen gas, like the way a sponge holds and releases liquid.

“It’s like a bath sponge but with very ordered cavities,” said Professor Omar Farha, the lead researcher on the project from Northwestern University.

“With a sponge, if you spill water and you wipe it, in order to reuse the sponge, your squeeze it.

“With this material we use the same thing – we use pressure to store and release these gas molecules.

“We can store tremendous amounts of hydrogen and methane within the pores of the metal-organic framework and deliver them to the engine of the vehicle at lower pressures than needed for current fuel cell vehicles.”

It is believed that this material has the capacity to store volumes of gas large enough to power a hydrogen vehicle for practical travel, minimising the need for expensive hydrogen tanks.

While hydrogen powered vehicle are considered the future of clean energy transport, there are a few impediments in the way of the technology becoming widely accessible.

Due to hydrogen gas being so light – hydrogen is the lightest element on the periodic table – it must be stored at extremely high pressure to fit enough into a vehicle’s tank to travel 500km.

The gas is stored at approximately 700 bar, roughly 300 times greater than the air pressure of a car’s tyre, and requires a specially built tank to store it, which adds to the cost of the vehicle.

It is hoped that this new material, named NU-1501, will negate the need for these tanks and help lower the cost and difficulties associated with hydrogen vehicles.

The research team has said that funding is now available to develop this type of material for transport applications.

The NU-1501 material has beaten tough targets set by the US Department of Energy for onboard storage and delivery systems for alternative fuels.

Source: Yahoo news! | Climate change: ‘Bath sponge’ breakthrough could boost cleaner cars

22 April 2020

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