Hydrogen fuel cell technologies may advance the future of clean energy.
Credit: Zero Emission Resource Organisation; Flickr CC BY 2.0
Although Jessica thinks that 2014 is the year of wearable technology, I’m starting to think that 2014 could instead be dubbed the year of fuel cells.
Just last month, she reported on an award of $3 million in DOE funds to FuelCell Energy (Danbury, Conn.) to pump up fuel cell technologies.
One of the remaining challenges with fuel cell tech is achieving adequate fuel (hydrogen) storage. As we’ve seen from as ACerS member Olivia Graeve’s work, advanced ceramics offer a potentially promising solution for hydrogen storage. A new study published in Chemistry of Materials by an international team of researchers proposes another potential material for solid storage of hydrogen, this time using a novel crystal phase of lithium hydrazinidoborane (LiN2H4BH3, LiHB). The researchers heated the material and found that it released hydrogen “easily, quickly and [with] only traces of unwanted by-products” according to an American Chemical Society press release. The paper is “Lithium Hydrazinidoborane: A Polymorphic Material with Potential for Chemical Hydrogen Storage” (DOI: 10.1021/cm500980b).
Advanced ceramics and other storage solutions will soon all be getting a push thanks to additional funds from the DOE. The department recently announced that it will be dishing out $7 million to help fund six projects to advance hydrogen storage systems.
The projects aim “to develop lightweight, compact, and inexpensive advanced hydrogen storage systems that will enable longer driving ranges and help make fuel cell systems competitive for different platforms and sizes of vehicles.”
The $7 million will be divvied up as follows:
- Materia of Pasadena, California will receive $2 million to reduce the cost of compressed hydrogen storage systems. The project will demonstrate a novel resin system that reduces the use of expensive carbon fiber composites for high pressure storage tanks.
- PPG Industries of Greensboro, North Carolina will receive $1.2 million to demonstrate a novel high strength glass fiber that is stronger than the carbon fibers used today at half of the cost.
- Sandia National Laboratories of Livermore, California will receive $1.2 million to systematically screen low cost alternative materials for use in hydrogen storage systems.
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of Livermore, California, will receive $1.2 million to develop a reversible, high-capacity storage material that can bond to and release hydrogen in a vehicle, reducing the amount of hydrogen that needs to be pumped in the tank.
- Ardica of San Francisco, California will receive $1.2 million to transition and scale-up a low-cost production process for the production of aluminum hydride, a potential high-capacity hydrogen storage material.
- HRL Laboratories of Malibu, California will receive $1 million to develop high capacity reversible hydrogen storage materials that have properties needed for practical hydrogen storage applications.
In preparation for the success of those projects, the DOE also pledged an additional $2 million to help develop a supply chain for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. According to the release, “This funding will support projects that focus on scaling-up the production of today’s hydrogen and fuel cell components and systems to commercial scale. Currently, these components and systems are being built using laboratory-scale fabrication technologies, but developing a robust supply chain to support mass production of these systems can enable the market for these technologies to grow.”
These additional coffers translate into funding outreach activities to “facilitate the development and expansion of the domestic supply chain of components and systems necessary for the manufacturing and scale-up of hydrogen and fuel cell systems in the United States.” Click here for more details about the funding announcement.