Scientists from Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories developed a hydro-storage system using nanotechnology. This innovative storage system can draw a futuristic picture with hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The new technology makes it possible for the hydrogen storage systems to be lightweight and low-pressure. Although these two characteristics are tough to achieve in a hydrogen storage system, a technology called the nanoconfinement makes it all possible.

The nanoconfinement infiltrates complex metal hydrides into carbon or other materials. This way, the process of hydrogen uptake and release gets faster.

Yet, the importance of nanoconfinement is not only this. Researchers from Mahidol University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have found that nano-hydrides can alter the “nano-interfaces”, which are phases that occur when the material is cycled.

Consequently, the researchers decided to apply nanoconfinement into Lithium Nitride hydrogen storage system. At the end, it was proved that nano-interfaces completely changed the pathways of the reaction pathways, and made the charging unit much faster and reversible.

The results were published in the Advanced Materials Interfaces journal on February 23rd. Regarding the results Brandon Wood, an LLNL materials scientist and lead author of the paper, commented:

“The key is to get rid of the undesirable intermediate phases, which slow down the material’s performance as they are formed or consumed. If you can do that, then the storage capacity kinetics dramatically improve and the thermodynamic requirements to achieve full recharge become far more reasonable.

In this material, the nano-interfaces do just that, as long as the nanoconfined particles are small enough. It’s really a new paradigm for hydrogen storage, since it means that the reactions can be changed by engineering internal microstructures.”

The paper has also opened an important door for the research on about solid-solid phase reaction in energy storage and the contribution of the nanoconfinement in this matter through thermodynamic modeling method. Tae Wook Heo, another LLNL co-author on the study, said:

“There is a direct analogy between hydrogen storage reactions and solid-state reactions in battery electrode materials. People have been thinking about the role of interfaces in batteries for some time, and our work suggests that some of the same strategies being pursued in the battery community could also be applied to hydrogen storage. Tailoring morphology and internal microstructure could be the best way forward for engineering materials that could meet performance targets.”

[via llnl]

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