November 04 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2018 Rating: 1
Researchers have successfully demonstrated a new way to test materials for storing hydrogen as a solid. Dutch-sponsored researcher Robin Gremaud has built a solid storage system for hydrogen based on a light alloy of magnesium, titanium and nickel. Gremaud used a novel (and potentially disruptive) method for simultaneously analyzing thousands of different combinations of the metals. This solid storage system could weigh sixty percent less than a comparable battery pack.
Why is this important to the future of energy?
The concepts of an ‘electric car’ and ‘hydrogen economy’ are misleading. The future is powered by electricity, but we can store electrical energy in form of chemical bonds of hydrogen. (Mother Nature stores energy in chemical bonds of hydrogen-carbon via coal and oil.) So a hydrogen economy is a world powered by electricity. And a hydrogen fuel cell car is still powered by electric motors.
Despite the emergence of advanced lithium ion batteries for the first wave of electric vehicles , next generation cars are likely to be powered by a combination of batteries, fuel cells and capacitors. Not one energy storage device is adequate enough to meet the demands of automotive applications.
The key to growing the world’s electric vehicle fleet is developing advanced energy storage systems. If batteries struggle to meet the performance demands of automotive applications, hydrogen fuel cells could emerge as a viable alternative assuming we have a viable storage medium. Now researchers have demonstrated a method that might accelerate development of metal based solid state hydrogen solutions.
About the technique – Hydrogenography
Gremaud is the first researcher to use this hydrogenography, or ‘writing with hydrogen’ method used to scan hydrogen absorption in alloys. The technique is based on the phenomenon of ‘switchable mirrors’ discovered at the VU University Amsterdam discovered 10 years ago when researchers noticed that certain materials lose their reflection by absorbing hydrogen. (Machines expected to be developed by Ilika)
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