Researchers at the University of Virginia have developed a new material that might make the storage and transportation of hydrogen more efficient and affordable.
‘In terms of hydrogen absorption, the material could set a world record,’ said Adam B Phillips, a graduate student, and one of the U.Va. physicists who invented the material with Bellave S Shivaram, an associate Professor of Physics.
‘Most materials today absorb only seven to eight per cent of hydrogen by weight, and only at cryogenic temperatures. Our material absorbs hydrogen up to 14 per cent by weight at room temperature. By absorbing twice as much hydrogen, the new material could help make the dream of a hydrogen economy come true.’
In an interview with The Engineer Online, Shivaram said that the new material is a very thin film made from a hydrocarbon precursor mixed with metal atoms.
However, although the new material can absorb hydrogen at room temperature, the scientists have not yet observed it desorb hydrogen. Shivaram said that this is because of the limitations of the measurement technique they are currently using.
The inventors are currently working with the U.Va. Patent Foundation to patent their discovery.