Feeds

Bath researchers gas up green cars

How do you store your hydrogen?

Seven Steps to Software Security

Researchers at Bath University have developed a new hydrogen storage technique they think could pave the way for greener cars.

Hydrogen-powered cars have long been touted as the ultimate in environmentalist transport because they produce no pollutants - only water vapour. But how to safely store the hydrogen fuel has been something of a problem.

One proposed solution - locking the gas away in a metal lattice - works wonderfully, but only at very high temperatures. An alternative - using a metal organic framework - is only feasible at liquid nitrogen (-198°C) temperatures.

The new technology allows hydrogen to be stored at room temperature and released at the flick of a switch. This solves the problem of how to store hydrogen fuel safely on board a hydrogen-powered vehicle, the researchers say.

The team was investigating the effect of hydrogen on metals when they discovered an organo-metal compound that would absorb hydrogen at room temperature and release it upon application of a small electric current.

This kind of take up and release at the atomic scale makes the material an ideal candidate for solving the hydrogen storage problem, the team explained.

The storage to weight ratio of the Rhodium storage technique is too low to use for an entire tank and still meet US department of energy efficiency requirements*. However, the researchers propose the technology as a short term fuel storage that would power the car until the engine reached the 300°C needed for the metal hydride lattice to kick in.

"Hydrogen has a low density and it only condenses into liquid form at -252°C so it is difficult to use conventional storage systems such as high-pressure gas containers which would need steel walls at least three inches thick, making them too heavy and too large for cars," notes Dr Andrew Weller from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath.

"Our new material works at room temperature and at atmospheric pressure at the flick of a switch. Because it is made from a heavy metal (Rhodium), its weight to fuel ratio is low, 0.1 per cent, but it could certainly fill the time lag between a driver putting their foot on the accelerator and a metal hydride fuel tank getting up to temperature."

The team hopes to have a working prototype built in the next two to three years.

The research has been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie in August 2006, and reviewed by Nature in September 2006. ®

*Six per cent of the weight of hydrogen storage systems must be hydrogen, so that hydrogen-powered cars have the same kind of mileage per tank as petrol-based systems.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.