Light hydrogen storage materials for mobile applications


Nowadays, economy and society depend on the use of fossil fuels. This dependence generates severe environmental, economic and political problems. For this reason, the development of alternative energy sources which are able to help to mitigate these problems is a priority research and development area. In recent years, this interest has boosted important advances in the application of renewable energies.

Nevertheless, the generalized application of these energy sources still faces important limitations, such as fluctuations in the production of energy due to weather changes or other random events, and difficulties in storing the excess energy produced in periods of low demand. The use of the energy generated from renewable sources in mobile applications such as vehicles or small electronic equipment is also hindered by the difficulties associated with the storage and transportation of this energy.

A possible solution to some of these limitations lies in the use of hydrogen as an energy vector. Several simple considerations that corroborate the use of hydrogen as an excellent fuel: the specific heat of combustion of hydrogen is very high and the combustion of hydrogen is clean because it only produces water.

However, storing hydrogen in small mobile applications or in vehicles does present new challenges. In these applications, it is especially important to reduce the weight and space required by the hydrogen storage system as much as possible.

Trying to contribute to the solution of this challenge, our group started to work at the end of 2011 with ultralight material. The aim was to develop this matrix in order to use its pores to embed metal hydrides, solid compounds which liberate H2 during their thermal decomposition.

After 2 years and under the supervision of Ángel Martín Martínez we have started to obtain some promising results that we have already published and show them in international meetings.


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