High Throughput Synthesis and Screening of Novel Hydrogen Storage Materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Chemistry


We wish to discover solids that act as highly efficient reservoirs to store - and release - hydrogen gas, for use in fuel cell (hydrogen) vehicles. Currently, there are no solids that will fulfil all the stringent requirements / including requirements for a high storage capacity and low temperature absorption and release of hydrogen gas / for hydrogen stores in mobile applications. Since the choice of potential materials is so bewildering, we must reduce the number elements that may be components in our solids We do this by only using elements that are light enough to give us an efficient hydrogen store. Even when we only consider the light elements of the periodic table, for example elements that weigh less than calcium, there are still very many families and compositions that remain / especially if you consider that very small amounts of heavier elements may be necessary to act as catalysts in our stores. To counteract this surfeit of choice we aim to use theoretical and modelling studies to identify in advance promising hydrogen storage materials families. These materials families will then be produced - and characterized - through the use of innovative high throughput thin film techniques. Combinations of structural and hydrogen absorption characterization will allow us to identify the most effective compositions within each family. Once a composition has been identified we aim to determine whether we can produce the material in larger quantities and / most importantly / whether it retains its key hydrogen storage properties. To do this we will develop methods to synthesize, thoroughly characterize and optimize gram scale quantities of the most promising compositions. These studies will provide essential information allowing us to refine our theoretical and modelling studies, and thus optimize our research pathways and identify new families of materials. They also provide a vital stepping stone to the development of processes for materials synthesis at a scale required for commercial exploitation. Once candidate compositions have been fully tested / and after a full project review to determine the success of our method / we will, in collaboration with our industrial partners, begin the synthesis, characterization and testing of materials on an industrial scale, with a view to commercial exploitation of our hydrogen stores.
Description In any hydrogen-fuel cell operation, the hydrogen storage material needs to be carefully selected on the grounds of how much hydrogen- per unit mass- it can store AND at what temperature can the hydrogen be rapidly released to enter the operating fuel cell. This EPSRC-sponsored research allowed us to very carefully establish how to chemically "tune" both critical technological properties- the storage material weight percent hydrogen and also the temperature of hydrogen evolution It also allowed us to advance the area into new, safer hydrogen storage materials - effectively limiting the most harmful gas, diborane, in the temperature-controlled decomposition process of a class of most promising hydrogen storage materials - the amido boranes
Exploitation Route As potential, safe "one-shot" hydrogen storage materials for use in various remote applications where hydrogen is required for off-site generation for hydrogen fuel cells, for example
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description The realization of the "Grand Challenge" of solid state hydrogen storage materials. This is universally regarded as "THE" stumbling block to the introduction-through fuel cells- to the future Hydrogen Economy In many presentations throughout the world, our EPSRC -sponsored research has been used to highlight the huge challenges now existing to overcome this basic problem of safe, high-performance solid state storage materials for transportation use. It also laid the ground rules and led to a highly successful TSB application with Johnson Matthey and an SME, Ilika as well as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic