Hydrogen highway

Shell Hydrogen is working with Ilika Technologies to discover the optimum material for the storage of hydrogen.

Shell Hydrogen has entered into a joint development project with Southampton-based Ilika Technologies to discover the optimum material that is suitable for the solid-state storage of hydrogen.

One of the key barriers to the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel is finding safe and economical solutions for onboard and stationary storage. While cryogenic storage and the use of compressed gas cylinders have been used in pilot projects, a safer and more efficient method could potentially use solid-state storage.

In such a solid-state storage system, metal hydrides would be used to store and then release the hydrogen. Ilika Technologies, a privately held UK company established in 2004, plans to apply its high-throughput, combinatorial R&D techniques to discover which hydrides would be best suited to the storage process.

‘Our collaboration model has proven successful with other major customers and we fully expect a successful technical and commercial outcome to this project,’ said.Jack Boyer, Ilika’s Chairman.

The company has already received UK government funding to help it along the hydrogen highway. In June 2006, the then Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) awarded £1.75m to a consortium led by Ilika for the discovery and development of hydrogen storage materials.