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Hydrogen & Fuel Cells

Catalyst developed to enable liquid hydrogen storage

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new catalyst that can be tapped so that hydrogen can be stored and transported in its liquid form.

The Brookhaven scientists, using iridium metal complexes, developed a catalyst that can effectively trigger the storage and release of hydrogen gas from liquid formic acid, a naturally occurring acid used as a preservative and antibacterial agent.

When combined with hydrogen and carbon dioxide in gaseous form, the catalyst causes the formation of liquid formic acid.

Hydrogen stored in liquid form is denser then hydrogen gas and contains more energy per volume, allowing for greater energy generation with less.

Hydrogen can be stored in gas form, but its energy density per volume is small, so it would require great quantities of hydrogen gas to generate enough power for practical applications.

"This is not the first catalyst capable of carrying out this reaction, but it is the first to work at room temperature, in an aqueous solution, under atmospheric pressure - and that is capable of running the reaction in forward or reverse directions depending on the acidity of the solution, "said Brookhaven chemist Etsuko Fujita.

The catalyst builds on work done by Yuichiro Himeda of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science of Japan.

Aside from allowing for easy and stable storage and transportation of hydrogen fuel, the process also reportedly does not produce carbon monoxide, an impurity that can damage and reduce the lifetime of hydrogen fuel cells.

Further efforts to optimize the hydrogen storage process are ongoing using several catalysts with the same design principle. – EcoSeed Staff

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