Activated Carbon May Hold Key to Storing Hydrogen

Scientists have been working for a while at storing hydrogen under low temperature and low pressure. Another factor for automobiles is also storing hydrogen for low cost (as in low to moderately priced hydrogen fueling tanks).

Researchers at MIT think they are on the right track by using activated carbon. According to title="MIT" href="http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/better-hydrogen-storage-0919.html" target="_blank">MIT, “The team analyzed the activated carbon’s storage of hydrogen using a technique called inelastic neutron scattering, which they say is uniquely capable of determining whether the hydrogen in the sample exists as individual atoms or H2 molecules. This approach can also assess the gas’s interaction with the storage material.

“Using this method, they were able to provide convincing evidence, for the first time, that hydrogen moves into the material as a result of a phenomenon called the spillover effect, in which atoms – thanks to the presence of platinum particles as a catalyst – split off from their molecules and diffuse through the carbon, where they bond to its surface. Other researchers had suspected the spillover effect was involved, but had been unable to demonstrate that this was the case.”

The one downside is that an expensive platinum catalyst is also currently used in the process. So, future research will be focused on new inexpensive materials to replace platinum in this process which would make such hydrogen storage more commercially feasible.

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