An investigation into the isotopic separation of hydrogen in metals by pressure swing adsorption

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Physics


The current reaction mechanism favoured for commercial fusion in a Tokamak design is the deuterium-tritium (D-T) reaction. However, tritium is unstable and beta decays with a ~12 year half-life. This means that it needs to be stored safely, and carefully monitored. The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) operates a tritium handling facility and uses a bed of uranium metal to store approximately 50g of tritium. Once, a fusion campaign is underway, the regulatory requirements dictate a strict separation and isolation of the tritium isotope. With the advent of a new tritium campaign and the development of ITER and the DEMO design, now is an ideal time to further investigate other routes/materials that might improve current tritium separation capabilities.

This project is an investigation into the ability of various metallic materials to isotopically separate gaseous mixtures of hydrogen. A technique known as pressure swing adsorption/desorption will be used to investigate the separation behaviour and compare the performance of a variety of potential candidate materials. Optimum performance conditions of pressure and temperature will be determined for each metal, so that a proposition can be made for future hydrogen isotopic separation technology.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509619/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
2063472 Studentship EP/N509619/1 16/10/2017 15/04/2021 Gareth Griffiths