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New Hydrogen Storage Technique

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the jiggle-handle-below dept.

Power 255

pwp writes to mention that researchers at the University of New Brunswick are reporting they have found a new method of storing hydrogen gas. The new method is able to condense hydrogen gas into a usable solid under mild conditions. "Hydrogen gas is typically stored under pressure in large metal cylinders, approximately four feet high. These cylinders are heavy and expensive to transport. Since they are under pressure, they also pose a safety hazard. 'We've reached a milestone with our ability to condense hydrogen into a usable solid,' said Dr. McGrady. 'The next step is to produce a safe, compact storage system for the compound that is both lightweight and affordable.' The research is expected to produce reversible hydrogen storage materials that can be processed into a powder for use in limitless commercial applications."

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255 comments

asdf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18348677)

asdf

I want more. (4, Interesting)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348705)

This article has absolutly vague information on what research they are doing. Storing hydrogen as a solid, apparetly as a powder? What would be interesting is to see how much energy is lost in the chemical reactions of reacting hydrogen with whatever they react it with and then changing it back into hydrogen gas. I would also like to see how this compares to the energy required to compress hydrogen as it is currently done. This is what will determine this technologies usefulness in reality.

Only nine percent hydrogen by weight is success? How much fuel will it waste in transportation if there is nine times as much "pakaging" material as there is hydrogen. Yes the currently used hydrogen cylinders are heavy, but I do not believe they weigh nine times as much as they can carry.

Re:I want more. (5, Interesting)

[Mobius] (89516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348771)

They bind it with aluminum to create a stable hydrogen/aluminum powder.

At least, that's what a local news report mentioned a few days back.

Re:I want more. (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348915)

Is it transparent?

(sleep 15)

Re:I want more. (2, Funny)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349035)

Is it transparent?

That would make a whale of an impact.

Re:I want more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349135)

That would make a whale of an impact.

How quaint.

Re:I want more. (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349117)

Whoah, seriously? They're making alane [fuelcellsworks.com] (stabilized aluminum hydride, AlH3)? Yep, a quick search revealed this to be the case [fuelcellsworks.com] . This would interest the rocketry industry as well, since alane offers great Isp. Let me check those weight numbers. Aluminum's atomic mass is about 27, while hydrogen's is about 1. AlH3 would thus be about 10% hydrogen by weight, so 9% would be essentially saturated, and 6% over half saturated. If correct, this would be incredible.

HOWEVER...

As many people seem to forget on energy and rocketry threads, breakthroughs like this are sadly a dime a dozen. The vast majority never reach the market or reach it in a greatly diminished form. Thus, take press-release style reports of breakthroughs with a heavy grain of salt.

Re:I want more. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349169)

Grr, posted the wrong link for alane [navy.mil] before. :P

Re:I want more. (4, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349977)

Of course, the real problem isn't just hydrogen density, the thermodynamics and kinetics of hydrogen uptake and release are important too. You want it to fall off in a nice controlled manner with very little energy: on the order of thermal energies so you can use waste heat from the fuel cell, or a simple heater, to get the hydrogen off. Likewise you want to be able to recharge it with hydrogen quickly and with small energy requirements. Many really great hydrogen storage solutions have run into problems at this end of the problem and need metal catalysts, which increases the weight and cost. Frankly, practical hydrogen fuel vehicles are still a couple of decades off. It's going to be cool, though. At the gas station, you won't have to go to the pumps, you'll just haul your "empties" out and swap them for reloaded cartridges. If you wanted to take extra fuel with you for a cross-country trip, you could just buy some spares. More expensive than jerry cans, but easier to swap in and out. Of course there's no particular reason for Audi's hydrogen cartridges to be same shape as BMW's, which could get "interesting".

Re:I want more. (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349457)

Intermetallic compounds such as FeTi can store hydrogen at a greater density than liquid hydrogen. Increase the Hydrogen pressure and H atoms (not H2 molecules) fill the interstitial holes (octahedral/tetrahedral etc) between the metal atoms. Lower the pressure and H2 is released again. Research has been ongoing for a while (decades) on these hydrogen storage materials trying to find ir design better materials and better reversiblity.

Re:I want more. (2, Informative)

background image (1001510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348807)

Nitpick: 9% is approximately 1/11. That means that 10/11 parts is 'packaging,' so there's ten times as much non-hydrogen stuff as there is hydrogen.

Re:I want more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18348813)

I agree. We've just gone through the Academy Awards and we're going full-tilt into campaign season, which means I'm already ODing on vague self-congratulatory bullshit at the moment.

Re:I want more. (3, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348825)

Make these things into a tablet format and just add water,
Its alka-selter for your car.

Plink-Plink-vroooooooom.

As for the packaging, I would be more worried about the waste of the huge foil tablet wrappers than anything (though, they would be pretty much beanie shaped, so they could be used...)

Re:I want more. (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348911)

There's very little actual information in the article, so I did some digging - here is the recipe:
- - - - - - - - - -
Brunswick Stew

In a 2 gallon pot, over low heat melt ¼ lb of butter then add:
3 cups small diced potatoes
1 cup small diced onion
2 14½ oz. cans of chicken broth
1 lb baked chicken (white and dark)
8-10 oz. smoked pork

Bring to a rolling boil, stirring until potatoes are near done, then add:
1 8½ oz. can early peas
2 14½ oz. cans stewed tomatoes - (chop tomatoes, add liquid to the stew pot)
3 cups prepared onion barbecue sauce
1 16 oz. can of baby lima beans
¼ cup Liquid Smoke
1 14½ oz. can creamed corn
Slow simmer for 2 hours
- - - - - - - - - -
The exciting revelation is that this recipe actually contains more than twice the percentage of hydrogen by weight that is stated in the article. Real progress.

Re:I want more. (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348995)

Yummy, can i skip the lima beans and still maintain the highly enriched hydrogen mix. I really do like lima beans and would enjoy trying this (cough) recipe (cough) on my frends and family. Their internal tummies...er..engines would love it!

Re:I want more. (1)

background image (1001510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349129)

You can't skip the lima beans! If you include them, this method not only stores hydrogen more efficiently, it produces another usable fuel--namely methane. Admittedly the collection methods are, um, a bit uncomfortable...

Re:I want more. (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349183)

The full recipe is here [officialguide.com] and it's common to mod or substitute Brunswick Stew. My fave way to eat it is as a pot pie.

Re:I want more. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349633)

Unfortunately, all of the hydrogen put into that recipe ends up stored in the form of methane gas.

Re:I want more. (1)

mikeasu (1025283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349881)

Where's the squirrel or possum? My wife tells me (she's from Lancaster PA, so she's a little bit country) that it isn't real Brunswick stew unless there's some ingredients you get from "varmint huntin'"...

That being said, looks like a fine recipe.

Re:I want more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349953)

I was with you until you hit the lima beans...

Weight isn't the problem, it's volume (3, Interesting)

Ryan C. (159039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349093)

But yes, even 9% is better than curent gas storage, which is much less than 5% hydrogen by weight. The DOE target for 2010 is 6%. And even then you'd be about five times the volume using compressed gas for a given amout of hydrogen.

Re:Weight isn't the problem, it's volume (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349383)

Not to mention that hydrogen's energy is about 120 MJ/kg, while gasoline has about 45 MJ/kg. Yes, this still translates to only a quarter the energy density of gasoline, but then there's another factor: conversion efficiency. A good hydrogen fuel cell and engine may give you 65% efficiency instead of 30% for a gasoline engine. So, assuming that this outgasses freely, your range per kg will be something like half the energy of gasoline per kilogram of fuel + fuel storage. So, double the mass of your fuel + fuel storage. If your vehicle normally takes 15 gallons of gasoline, then you'd be carrying an extra 48 kilograms (half the weight of one passenger) in fuel + fuel storage. Now you get to subtract: fuel cell/electric engines are generally ligher than ICEs, and you don't need an ICE.

In short, I think the overall vehicle mass would come out to be lower. Volume of the fuel+drivetrain will be probably bigger, but I wouldn't expect it to be bigger by a huge amount (I'm not sure of the volume of current fuel cells; electric engines are pretty small, though, and you get to eliminate all sorts of components (like the alternator)).

Re:I want more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349107)

A standard gas cylinder weighs what? Maybe 100 lb? All I know is that it is about all I want to lift into the back of my Suburban. That cylinder holds 244 cubic feet of gas at atmospheric pressure. That is 6910 liters, or 308 moles of gas. Hydrogen has a molar wieght of 2, so this 100 lb cylinder holds 616 grams of hydrogen, making the hydrogen 1.3% of the total weight.

You're right to not believe they weigh nine times as much as they can carry- they weigh nearly 100 times as much as they can carry!

Re:I want more. (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349645)


Weight % is the main focus in hydrogen storage. Most techs are 5 years and I would buy in.

Re:I want more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349227)

Only nine percent hydrogen by weight is success?
Absolutely! The biggest problem with the so-called hydrogen economy is that it requires vehicles to store significant amounts of hydrogen. Due to the energy density of hydrogen as a gas (1000 times less dense than it is as a liquid or a solid) and the fact that cryogenic systems for hydrogen is probably not much of an option for an automobile, most people have just resorted to hydrocarbons to get hydrogen for things like fuel cells and using a reformer to separate the hydrogen. Of course, that releases CO2 so it is not a great solution. This option which you could theoretically power electrically (with clean power sources such as hydroelectric power or nuclear power) could eliminate the CO2 from most fuel cell usage because even though it only has 9% by weight, that is 100 times better than a gas. Heck, it is probably more energy dense than most hydrocarbons at that level though I'd have to do some calculations to be sure.

Re:I want more. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349515)

No, it's a quarter as energy dense, and half as energy efficient (since hydrogen fuel cells + electric enginess have so much better efficiency than ICEs). Still, that's not problematic; doubling the mass of 15 gallons of gasoline is only 48 kg extra, and you don't have to haul around that big hunk of steel we call an internal combustion engine. ;)

Probably the best solution out there for hydrogen generation is nuclear power thermolysis. No fossil fuels used, and it has a very high thermal efficiency. The popular concept of photovoltaics + electrolysis in your driveway would only be realistic if we get an order of magnitude price reduction on photovoltaics. Which may actually happen, but I wouldn't bet our future on it alone. :) It'd also work far easier in some places than others. Up here in eastern Iowa, we sadly don't get much solar energy.

Re:I want more. (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350021)

No, it's a quarter as energy dense, and half as energy efficient (since hydrogen fuel cells + electric enginess have so much better efficiency than ICEs). Still, that's not problematic; doubling the mass of 15 gallons of gasoline is only 48 kg extra, and you don't have to haul around that big hunk of steel we call an internal combustion engine. ;)

But that leaves open the question of regenerative braking. A great deal of the efficiency bonus of EVs and HEVs (PHEV or no) is that they do regenerative braking. You can't effectively use a fuel cell for this without an intermediate storage medium, which currently means batteries (as we've been waiting for supercapacitors to get good price:performance for many years now.)

If you have to add batteries in to store the power from regenerative braking until you can accomplish electrolysis of water, then you have inefficiency and weight to deal with. And you probably won't be able to store it in this solid form, which I suspect won't be a very portable process (although I am willing to be proven wrong.) So you'd lose out on one of the major benefits of using an electric vehicle.

lets look (2, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349377)

http://www.biofuels.fsnet.co.uk/sustain.htm [fsnet.co.uk]
Typically, a 1460 x 230 mm K size industrial gas cylinder weighs 65kg and holds 7.2 cubic metres of hydrogen, which has to be compressed at 175 bar (c. 2500 psi) - a convenient size and weight (same as a 50 litre fuel tank) for one cylinder to fit into a car, but the actual weight of the hydrogen is only 0.6kg.
hmmm... 65kg/.6kg .0092 ratio... that's uh, less than 1/100th or 100 times as much packing material....

Re:I want more. (1)

Atraxen (790188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349437)

That's going to be a tough request - considering the name only shows 7 citations (one of which is this patent) in Scifinder Scholar (a chem. lit. database). Below is the abstract for the patent, though... He (Sean McGrady)is the only author, title = "Hydrogen storage materials comprising gallium", and it's a 2006 Eur. Pat. Appl. Full test at:
http://v3.espacenet.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP16 72087&F=0&QPN=EP1672087 [espacenet.com]

"Hydrogen storage materials which are solid metal alloys in their hydrided state and liq. metal alloys in their dehydrided state, thereby facilitating their recharging by reaction with hydrogen gas. In a preferred embodiment, the material has the formula M3GaH6, where M is an alkali metal like Lithium or Natrium."

Simple Hydrogen Storage (1)

grangerfx (998424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349455)

Hydrogen can also be very effiently stored when converted to a liquid. The liquid is 2/3rds hydrogen, extremely compact, converts to a solid at lower tempratures and best of all is not flamable. You just need to bond two hydrogen atoms with a single oxegen atom. I will be filing a patent on this idea so no stealing!

Re:Simple Hydrogen Storage (1)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349745)

Okay, wise guy, how do you extract the hydrogen efficiently?

Re:Simple Hydrogen Storage (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350005)

Obviously you put really tiny knives at the edge of the vacuum sucker that break those bonds and force the atoms to go in single file, and since the oxygen atom is so huge it just can't fit and it floats away. DUH.

this can not work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18348707)

i know i'm a pizza delivery boy but since i'm on slashdot i know this defies everything i learned in my high school chemistry class. there is no way this can work and the scientists are just giving us false hope for a government grant!

Re:this can not work! (0, Flamebait)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348749)

you are an idiot. please don't spit on my pizza.

Re:this can not work! (0, Offtopic)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348913)

If you do not want people at restaurants to spit in your food, even though they might not be as well educated as you, don't call them idiots.

...And if you are so smart, why don't you know that?

Re:this can not work! (0, Offtopic)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349301)

If you eat at restaurants, no matter how nice, you will at times eat spit, hair, dirt, cleaning products, blood, rodent parts, and very likely shit and semen at some point. Hopefully not all at the same time, but you never know. Restaurants are disgusting, no matter what you do. Accept it.

Re:this can not work! (2, Interesting)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348783)

While they do not say directly in the article, the artcile does have hints that thier method of turning hydrogen solid is to react it with something. This will form a powerder at room temperature. The thing is they only have six percent of this powder is hydrogen so there is alot of dead weight to haul around so little H2. Also this method of a reversible reaction will use up energy. It is yet to be seen if this is more or less than the energy required to compress a similar volume of hydrogen.

Re:this can not work! (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348965)

Although I believe hydrides to be very reactive (lithium aluminum hydride, anyone?), I think you'd have better luck transporting well-protected solids that are (even explosively) reactive than high-pressure tanks of a highly combustible gas.

Re:this can not work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349701)

Depending on how energy efficiently the gas is actually used to produce work, even if the storage method is less space efficient in terms of potential work content than, say petrol/diesel, using hydrogen as a storage medium may give an overall efficiency that warrants further attention.

Correct (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349193)

You're correct. H2 does not have a solid phase anywhere near STP.

The article is just plain wrong, as they are not condensing hydrogen into a solid. In fact, technically, condensation occurs whe you transition from gas to liquid. gas to solid would, of course, be deposition, and liquid to solid would be solidification.

Combine it with oxygen and store the result it in the liquid form. It's safe to transport, easy to pipe around a vehicle or power plant, and gets you somthing like 10% H mass

Very light on details. (4, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348719)

This article reads like the typical press release aimed to stir up grant money and venture capitalists. Too bad that UNB doesn't have a stock ticker symbol.

Somebody feel free to submit the details about this when they're released.

Re:Very light on details. (1)

mass (65691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349071)

MOD PARENT HIGHER!

Re:Very light on details. (1)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349305)

No kidding. I was surprised to see that this wasn't submitted by Roland Piquepaille, or however his name is spelled.

Re:Very light on details. (1)

asadodetira (664509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349373)

The details are in the McGrady webpage, research section: No reference to results or calculations, seems like they're just getting started.
From the page:

Light metal hydrides such as AlH3 (5) and complexes like NaAlH4 (6) , whi ch contain a high percentage of hydrogen by weight, are attractive as on-board sources of H2 in vehicular applications.

Link: http://v8nu74s71s31g374r7ssn017uloss3c1vr3s.unbf.c a/~smcgrady/research/index.html [v8nu74s71s...3s.unbf.ca]

Sweet (4, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348791)

Assuming the energy needed to perform the condensation is not lossy, this technique is going to be da bomb. :)

Haha. But seriously, this is what the "hydrogen economy" needs. You could even grind the powder fine enough to be a slough, and 'pump' that into your vehicle's fuel tank.

When George Bush first proposed hydrogen as the solution to our fossil-fuel habit, everyone mocked him for failing to understand that hydrogen is just a storage medium, rather than an energy source. I suspect he knew that all along... but since most Americans don't know it, he persuaded them to (at least in principle) buy in to the idea.

Once there is enough interest in hydrogen, the "hydrogen economy" will indeed take off (e.g. today's breakthrough), and at that time we will be groping for a way to produce hydrogen in bulk. The optimal way to produce bulk hydrogen is of course a nuclear reactor. And so by this (alas necessarily) indirect route will Americans come to accept ubiquitous nuclear power. And that is exactly what Bush wanted (or at least should have wanted) all along.

Re:Sweet (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349345)

So if the ultimate solution is nuclear power, the question then becomes: How do you make nuclear reactors that are safe enough to be owned and operated by the average American, whose intelligence is barely adequate to work a 9-5, come home, drink beer, eat pizza and go bowling on Wednesday nights? And how do you keep this average American simian safe from terrorists if all of his power is coming from said reactors? I ask this because even centralized nuclear power is risky, and for the average American to maintain his/her current lifestyle, nuclear powered vehicles will probably have to have their own reactors.

Re:Sweet (0, Flamebait)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349531)

How do you make nuclear reactors that are safe enough to be owned and operated by the average American, whose intelligence is barely adequate...

Dumb, dumb question.

You don't need an electric generator per household today, nor a gasoline refinery, so what makes you think anyone would need their own nuclear power plant?

Even if all portable fuels needed to be produced locally, one nuke plant per town would probably suffice, or a handful per metro area.

And today's nuclear fission techology is pretty safe. Keep in mind that current production facilities in the U.S. are based on 40 to 50 year old designs. In the relatively free world a LOT has happened to make fission better, safer, and cheaper.

Re:Sweet (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349353)

Nuclear power would be regional, or at least should be. Places like where I live, the Mojave Desert, would have the option of using wind power (already extensive and expanding here) or solar (not bad but sand storms scratch the glass here lowering the efficiency).

Nuclear, especially a pebble bed or similar solution (read meltdowns are impossible), is going to be the best solution for the North East and other areas. But then we have to overcome the lack of nuclear fuel, which just like fossil fuel is limited.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349473)

The optimal way to produce bulk hydrogen is of course a nuclear reactor.


Actually, the optimal way to produce bulk hydrogen is to upgrade the current refineries to produce Hydrogen.

After all, OIL is a hydrocarbon (what do you think they're burning off in all those flares?)

Re:burning off in flares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349743)

Methane

Re:Sweet (0, Flamebait)

pkulak (815640) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349651)

The only reason Bush rambled on about hydrogen is because he knows damn well it's a dead end. If he really gave a crap about getting us off oil he would be talking about far better energy storage systems, like batteries.

Re:Sweet (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349957)

"You could even grind the powder fine enough to be a slough, and 'pump' that into your vehicle's fuel tank."

The thought that one of my profs mentioned in a business class was that IF this technology advances enough, that you could literally go to Walmart and buy your fuel off of a shelf. Since at room temperature the stuff is completely stable, is there even a need to have a gas station like environment?

-Rick

Details anyone? (1)

reezle (239894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348801)


Does anyone know anything about this, besides it's the same sort of thing we've been reading about for years. (Dissolving Hydrogen into another substance then realsing it at will).

Is there something different here? What materials are they using. Is 9% actually a GOOD number?

Re:Details anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349243)

Storing 9 wt % hydrogen on a *system* level basis, (i.e., having the ratio (total mass of usable hydrogen: total system mass (including valves, tanks, regulators, storage material, etc) > 0.09) would satisfy the DOE 2015 FreedomCAR targets.
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/m ypp/pdfs/storage.pdf [energy.gov]

In other words, 9wt% is a lot of hydrogen.

The method is based on using alane (AlH3) as the storage material. Of course AlH3 has been explored for storage for years, but the thermodynamics of storage in alane make it very difficult to re-hydride. (Getting the hydrogen out is rather easy, but putting it back in requires giga-pascal pressures. ) This work supposedly has found a way to re-hydride Al to AlH3 using a chemical route (using a so-called supercritical fluid), rather than a high-pressure route. However, as far as I understand the method, the current conversion yield is 3%.

If you'd settle for 2% then check this one (4, Interesting)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350007)

Home power has a cool PDF [homepower.com] that describes how to create your own metal hydride based system. What's cool about their plans is they use bulk materials direct from the manufacturers and then show you how to prime your own system in a home lab if you're so inclined. I'd love to try it.

  Seems I read there was a similar system that is used in one version of the hydrogen powered car prototypes and they say they can get a hundred miles per tank on tanks about the size of a scuba tank.

Re:Details anyone? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350025)

Shame they didn't consider combining with oxygen - nearly 6% H efficiency right out of the gate. Sure, it takes a bit more energy to extract the H2 on the vehicle end, but it's easy to store and transport. Plus, no recombination issues since you can just get more in the pre-combined state, as it occurs naturally at STP.

.
.
. ;-)
(for the humor impaired)

Finally! Instant water (2, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348819)

The research is expected to produce reversible hydrogen storage materials that can be processed into a powder

Just add water for a delicious instant beverage.

Re:Finally! Instant water (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349187)

Hydrogen would normally be H(2) in stable form. Water is H(2)O. How would adding water to 'powdered hydrogen' produce water?

Re:Finally! Instant water (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349259)

Mmmm.... Hydrogenated water...

/Homer J. Simpson

Re:Finally! Instant water (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349453)

Don't you mean just as oxygen for a delicious instant beverage?

Re:Finally! Instant water (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349807)

The powder is available in grape, blue raspberry and kiwi-strawberry.

Denmark already did this? (2, Insightful)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348855)

It's hard to say since the article is so light on the details, but DTU --the Danish equivalent of MIT-- demonstrated hydrogen in pellet form something like two years ago.

One would do something I do not recall (perhaps pour water or an electric current over them?) to release the hydrogen, but otherwise they were inert. (I don't know what happened to that technology since, however.)

Solid H (2, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348891)

Solid Hydrogen? I can't wait to heat my house with this stuff. Nothing like a fire made of Hydrogen logs.

Re:Solid H (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348957)

The glow of a wood fire is from incandescent soot, so the hydrogen flame would be really unsatisfying.

More of what they're doing at the research group's site [www.unb.ca] .

Re:Solid H (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18348969)

I'm looking forward to freebasing a nice pipefully of that powdery stuff.

Re:Solid H (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348973)

Nothing like a fire made of Hydrogen logs.

I'd think you'd be quite disappointed with lack of ambience in your fireplace, however. Pure hydrogen burns with a nearly invisible flame. But heck, if all you care about is the heat, then who cares what it looks like when it burns.

Re:Solid H (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349539)

Pretend this is real... Solidified hydrogen. I'm imagining a solid rocket motor. I'm imagining the "specific impulse" (thrust per unit mass) of such a system. I'm imagining the materials it would take to contain it.

I'm imagining the blast radius of the first couple test failures.

This isn't news... This is pr.. (1)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348907)

This is just a press release... I should release one that I'v put together a team of crack scientist to solve the transmutation of lead into gold... And watch the fringe investment backers start calling and asking how much to get on board...

If they were REALLY this close to this big of a milestone, then why did they secure 3.3 MILLION $$$ of investment... Nothing personal, But something like that should be 300+Million or some such. Or Maybe 2 Billion from China... etc.. etc.. Because the REAL economical & viable conversion of hydrogen to a solid and back, is the NEXT big step for ALL of our civilization(s). (yes, we lower crustations want in on it also...) THAT will make the next global market (transport/fuel/production/payment/support/mainten ance, etc..) that will make everything until now look like peanuts!

Continuting ideas: end war, space exploration, chemistry discoveries, cheap food, cleaner water (all that nasty hydrogen has finally been removed) etc..etc..etc..

I say "snake oil" on this one...

Been done (3, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348937)

Hydrogen is already storable in a solid state, borax. I don't know how feasible it is for wide use. One of the main problems I see is that it would require three tanks in a vehicle; one for the borax, one for water and a third for waste, which is basically soap. From here [findarticles.com] :

"We developed a dual-bladder fuel tank," says Moore, "to hold the residue created by this process." Refueling pushes the filtrate out of the second bladder and into a collection tank, where it is held until returned for reprocessing. "Unlike gasoline, the tankers won't return to the refinery empty," says Moore, "so the trip back is value-added." And vehicle dynamics are more consistent due to the retention of the residue. There is no dramatic weight variation between "Full" and "empty".

The technology currently is undergoing testing in a Chrysler minivan. "Technically, the vehicle is a hybrid," says Moore, "because the fuel cell recharges a lithium-ion battery pack that provides power for the wheels." Early testing has shown the van to be capable of 0-60 mph in 16 sec., the equivalent of 30 mpg, and of 300 miles on a tank of, well, slush. That tank, by the way, holds 54 gallons of new fuel, up to 40 gallons of residue, and is located between the rear axle and bumper under the van floor.

Ironically, U.S. Borax, Former sponsor of Death Valley Days, owns most of the borax reserves in the world. There are 600 million metric tons of known borax reserves (dry lake beds are the greatest source), and estimates predict the 50 million vehicles currently on the road would use 20 million tons of borax each year, most of which would be recycled.

Re:Been done (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349165)

Given that the article is five years old, it sounds like that technology didn't go much of anywhere. Maybe they learned some useful stuff from it that will apply to another hydrogen store, but after five years with no follow-up it sounds like a dead end in itself.

Re:Been done (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349287)

It's also possible to store hydrogen in a stable solid matrix using oxygen. There are some limitations on temperature (IIRC, the maximum temperature is something like 273 K) as well as a lot of issues with toxicity [dhmo.org] . In addition, most of the energy stored in H2 is used up by adding the oxygen to the hydrogen.

There are, however, plenty of advantages to the oxygen-hydrogen storage matrix, the most significant of which is that it can also be used to chill a refeshing potent potable.

soo.. put your future looking hat on... (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349491)

everyone says,

using oil is changing the balance of the carbon cycle, by releasing carbon that was tucked away under the earth millions of years ago.....

how does using borax change the "hydrogen" cycle?

Flamewar in 3,2,1..... (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348945)

  • Cue Slashdot posts emphasising the uselessness of hydrogen due to the fact that we must put more energy into the process than we get out. Well blow me over. Who'd have thought that thermodynamics would apply to our energy supplies?
  • Cue replies defending Hydrogen in combitation with wind, solar, hydro, wave power etc.
  • Cue retort about dead bird, bats, fish, displaced persons all being inferior options to the next generation of nuclear reactors.
  • Cue kneejerk rant about the danger of nuclear power to the environment and proliferation, along with something topical like Iran.
  • Cue the guy with that "coal releases more radiactivity than nuclear" line.
  • Cue exasperated response hyperbole about how oil is running out and civilisation as we know it is doomed and we must do something.(optional "for the children")
  • Cue comment from guy running a P4 about how our resources would last longer if we cut our usage.
  • Cue poster with link to obscurse new energy theory/perpetual motion machine site.

Danm I love this joint!

You left out... (2, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349161)

The tongue-in-cheek summary shortcut post.
And the wiseass respone to same.

You Forgot... (2, Funny)

errxn (108621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349203)

Cue Grammar Nazi...Damn I love this joint!

Re:Flamewar in 3,2,1..... (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349209)

It's what keeps me coming back.

Re:Flamewar in 3,2,1..... (1)

ameline (771895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349231)

You should have been modded insightful.

But you forgot about cueing the guy pointing out that one of the most important factors for vehicular power sources is energy density, and that currently hydrogen along with its containment system absolutely sucks in this regard.

Heehee (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349931)

My hydrogen storage device: a giant balloon around an aliminium frame inflated with the gas, such that it is lighter than air. Attach a few engines and this green machine could be manouevred through the skies, carrying massive cargo and passengers. I just need some help to think of an imposing name for the future of transportation.

This said, most of universe's energy comes from the fusion of Hydrogen nuclei.

Sometime in the future.... (3, Funny)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18348955)

"Well son, throw another hydrogen log on the fire and I'll tell you all about that time me and Will Smith stopped the alien invasion with nothing but a pocket calculator. Those where the days!"

Re:Sometime in the future.... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349037)

Don't forget to tell him about the Mac virus. That's the best part of the story.

Re:Sometime in the future.... (2, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349395)

A virus is caused by a pathogen... let's see... pathogen... pathogens... pathogens are carbon-based life, which means they're mostly water. Water is mostly hydrogen... hydrogen... Ah! Hydrogen is flammable. Flame is hot... and our sun fuses hydrogen, which means the sun is hot. I've got it! We'll launch the aliens into the sun!

(If you don't get the logic, you must have missed the movie.)

weight (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349027)

9% hydrogen by weight?

That sounds familiar, water is only 11% hydrogen by weight, but nobody seems to have cared about that when they wanted to use water as a base fuel for cold fusion.

Re:weight (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349233)

The amount of energy released by fusing hydrogen is immensely more than the amount released chemically. A tank full of water will drive your car to the moon and back if you've got cold fusion going, even if it's only 11% hydrogen.

But if all you're doing is reducing it with oxygen in the air, you're going to have to fill your tank fairly often if you've only got 9% hydrogen in your tank.

Re:weight (2, Informative)

gm0e (872436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349993)

The US dept of energy set a target of 6.5% hydrogen by weight [pnas.org] for automobile hydrogen storage. So, yes, 9% is great (although the article is short on details and 9% is only their prediction - they haven't done it yet). The main alternatives to storing H2 gas in a high pressure gas cylinder are:
  • Molecular hydrogen (H2) physically sticking to a porous storage medium, such as a metal organic framework [trnmag.com] , without chemically reacting.
  • Chemically storing atomic hydrogen in a compounds, such as metal hydrides [csa.com] , where it can reversibly react to form H2.
The challenge is trying to do the above reversibly in non-extreme temperature and pressure conditions and in a method that won't break down with hundreds and thousands of empty/full cycles.

The reason the weight percent numbers seem small is that H2 has a molecular weight of ~2 AMU and any material with the capacity to adsorb lots of hydrogen or store it chemically is going to be made of much heavier atoms. In this way, mass percentage is deceiving but it is the most common measure of storage capacity. My wild guess is that the 6.5% cutoff is in the ballpark of the energy output to mass ratio of gasoline. Luckily, neither fuel requires the automobile to haul around all the oxygen necessary to for the reactions.

If people aren't happy with single digit weight percentages, they could suggest using a heavier hydrogen isotopes to double or triple the numbers!

Here's the abstract, for more information (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349097)

http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/MAR07/Event/59811 [aps.org]

extracted:

Investigation of the Direct Hydrogenation of Aluminum to Alane in Supercritical Fluids

Alane, AlH$_{3}$ has many of the properties that are requisite for materials to be considered viable for onboard hydrogen storage applications. Most notibly, it contains 10.1 wt{\%} hydrogen and undergoes dehydrogenation at appreciable rates at temperatures below 100$^{\circ}$C. However, the very low, $\ge $ 6 kJ/mol, enthalpy of dehydrogenation of AlH$_{3}$ prohibits subsequent re-hydrogenation through standard gas-solid techniques except at very high pressures or very low temperatures. The extremely low solubility of gaseous H$_{2}$ in conventional organic solvents also vitiates a solution-based approach. Re-hydrogenation of Al using a supercritical fluid potentially offers a workable approach since the fluid can act as a solvent, at the same time remaining completely miscible with permanent gases like hydrogen. Recently, it has been found that mixtures of NaH and Al can be hydrogenated to sodium alanate, NaAlH$_{4}$ under modest pressures and temperatures in supercritical fluids. We have now extended these studies to the hydrogenation of Al to AlH$_{3}$. The results of these studies and experimental details will be reported.

(The important question is now the energetic cost of preparing alane by this method, which
impacts the efficiency of using alane-derived hydrogen as a fuel.

Re:Here's the abstract, for more information (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349499)

Holy pyrophoricity Batman!

Big deal (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349101)

I have a method of storing condensed methane gas. It's not 100% safe (ask my dog) but nobody has died from it, yet.

Just what is a Usable Solid? (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349139)

Just what is a Usable Solid? To me it's one that's easily manufactured, non-polluting, cheap, safe to transport, and leaves no residue behind.

If there is a residue, then it's a new Storage Container, and not a Usable Solid. If that's the case, then it needs to be easily rechargeable/refillable, quickly rechargeable/refillable, cheaply rechargeable/refillable, safely rechargeable/refillable/transportable, and provide good energy density for its overall weight and volume.

Does this system meet all these requirements? Hard to tell.

So, to clarify... (3, Funny)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349191)

"The next step is to produce a safe, compact storage system for the compound that is both lightweight and affordable."

Oh, so you mean, all we have to do now is figure out a way to store hydrogen that's safe, compact, lightweight, and affordable? Well hell, son, why didn't you say so? Our troubles are over!

Press Release vs. Peer Reviewed Article (2, Insightful)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349223)

Can we have less free advertising (i.e. press releases) and more articles that are actually informative? I know it's asking a lot... but come on, man!

How about liquid hydrogen storage? (3, Funny)

cnaumann (466328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349357)

Here is an idea: create a chain of about 8 carbon atoms and attach 18 hydrogen atoms to this carbon chain. That is about 16% hydrogen by weight! Not only that, it is an easy to handle liquid at normal temperatures and pressures. Imagine simply pouring a liquid into your car for refueling!

Re:How about liquid hydrogen storage? (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349683)

Here is an idea: create a chain of about 8 carbon atoms and attach 18 hydrogen atoms to this carbon chain. That is about 16% hydrogen by weight!

      Even better, design it with 2 carbon atoms. I'm sure you could fit 6 hydrogen atoms on there AND an oxygen atom - imagine that - you're increasing the hydrogen to carbon ratio from 2.25:1 to 3:1 and you're even providing part of the oxygen for combustion. This theoretical fuel should provide more than enough energy to power a vehicle and comes in real handy if you're entertaining guests...

Yet another gimme-a-grant press release (2, Informative)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349403)

Ye Gods!

TFA is *very* short on details but, as far as I can determine, they have nothing more than a (slightly) more efficient gas/metal adsorbtion method.

To illustrate *how* short on detail it is, take the quote "The way to do this is to turn hydrogen into a compound -- a solid -- so you can use it when you want, safely, in the amount you want." ... Errr, OK; you mean ICE?

Hydrogen aDsorbtion (which means sticking to the surface of, rather than being pulled into the structure of (aBsorbtion) onto metals) has been known about for a very long time. Using these techniques does do away with the classical problems of storing hydrogen cryogenically (cold, volatility and risk of explosion) but for a *huge* cost of energy-density/weight ratio. So much so that it isn't really worth the effort. Even if they have achieved a ten-fold improvement over traditional (titanium) adsorbtion methods, it wouldn't be nearly enough to be viable consumer level energy requirements.

Lecture (1)

QBasicer (781745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349441)

I'm a student of UNB. I'm very excited that my university is working on this kind of research. Dr. McGrady is making a guest lecture to my chemistry class.

Not exactly new.. 2 years ago...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18349533)

This has been in work a while (from 2005):

http://sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa004&articleI D=000BCFA2-450E-1289-837D83414B7FFE9F [sciam.com]

Doesn't say anything about a solution to the real issues, which are economically and safely recovering the hydrogen in a motor vehicle and the slow rate of absorption.

More promising is using organic nanopores (from corncobs, natch) to store methane:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/07022 0132230.htm [sciencedaily.com]

It's not actually solid hydrogen, it's chemical. (3, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349589)

Unsurprisingly it's not the formation of solid dihydrogen as you might expect from the amazingly poorly written press release. Like almost everyone else they're working on chemical hydrogen storage, whereby hydrogen-rich compounds are used to store and release hydrogen gas. The remainder are working on physical dihydrogen storage (carbon nanotubes etc).

I present you: The Wheel (TM) (3, Interesting)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349643)

Powder metal hydride hydrogen generator [uspto.gov]

Abstract A system for generating hydrogen gas for use in a fuel cell includes a powder metal hydride source, a water source, a mixing device and a catalytic hydrogen generating chamber. A method of generating hydrogen for use in a fuel cell includes the steps of: providing a source of dry metal hydride fuel; providing a source of steam; providing a mixing/reaction chamber connected to the source of dry metal hydride fuel and to the source of steam; operating the mixing/reaction chamber to transport the dry metal hydride fuel from its source to a byproduct receptacle and feeding steam into the mixing/reaction chamber such that the steam reacts with the dry metal hydride fuel to produce hydrogen gas and a dry metal powder byproduct; removing the dry metal powder byproduct from the mixing/reaction chamber; and extracting the hydrogen gas from the mixing/reaction chamber.
Filed: August 28, 2003; Granted: February 20, 2007

Oh well, it's something else completely, I guess.

Uh... (1)

BeProf (597697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349747)

Balloons?

Yeah sure.. (1)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18349963)

Like the hydrogen atoms found attached to long-chain carbon molecules.

Eureka!! They've rediscovered Paraffin!!
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