Tech breakthrough could lead to cheaper, safer hydrogen

Tech breakthrough could lead to cheaper, safer hydrogen

Australian researchers at Deakin University say they have made a breakthrough that could help address one of the biggest barriers preventing the widespread adoption of hydrogen energy: safe storage and transport.

Hydrogen is increasingly being touted as one sustainable solution to the world’s gas crisis. But, finding a material that can store enormous quantities of gases for practical application remains a major challenge. The new process – first described by nanotechnology researchers from Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) in the journal Materials Today – offers a novel way to separate, store and transport huge amounts of gas safely, with no waste, the researchers say.

Traditional oil refinery methods use a high-energy “cryogenic distillation” process to separate crude oil into the different gases used by consumers, such as gasoline or household gas. This process makes up 15% of the world’s energy use, the researchers say.

What the IFM research outlines is a completely different mechanochemical way of separating and storing gases, which uses a tiny fraction of the energy and creates zero waste.

The special ingredient in the process is boron nitride powder, which is great for absorbing substances because it is so small, yet has a large amount of surface area for absorption.

Tech-breakthrough-oil-refineries-greener-hydrogen-safer-1400

During the process, the boron nitride powder is placed into a ball mill – a type of grinder containing small stainless-steel balls in a chamber – along with the gases that need to be separated. As the chamber rotates at a higher and higher speed, the collision of the balls with the powder and the wall of the chamber triggers a special mechanochemical reaction, resulting in gas being absorbed into the powder.

One type of gas is always absorbed into the powdered material quicker, separating it out from the others, and allowing it to be easily removed from the mill. This process can be repeated over several stages to separate the gases one by one, the researchers say.

The ball-milling gas absorption process consumes 76.8 KJ/s to store and separate 1000L of gases. This uses at least 90% less than the energy used in the petroleum industry’s current separation process.

Once absorbed into this material, the gas can be transported safely and easily, researchers say. Then, when the gas is needed, the powder can be heated in a vacuum to release the gas unchanged.

You May Also Like

WeaveGrid to test software on real-world EVs through partnership with ACM

WeaveGrid said its software helps EVs integrate with the electric grid by leveraging data and controls available via vehicle telematics.

WeaveGrid-partnership-ACM

WeaveGrid is partnering with the American Center for Mobility (ACM) to test its software with real-world EVs and charging infrastructure at ACM's Willow Run facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan. This effort will be supported by the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, a grant awarded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME). WeaveGrid said its software helps EVs integrate with the electric grid by leveraging data and controls available via vehicle telematics and cloud-connected charging hardware. By combining these data sources with grid-optimized algorithms to facilitate charging at beneficial times, WeaveGrid said it enables EVs and charging devices to interact with the grid.

CALSTART praises the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy

The strategy prioritizes a phased-in approach and has taken into account the speed at which electric charging infrastructure can be built at scale.

CARB-CALSTART--Ride-Drive-1400
FLO, GM activate Plug and Charge for GM EV drivers in Canada

FLO’s technology confirms identification, authorizes the charging session and activates billing without any additional action from the driver.

FLO_GM_Plug_and_Charger
Hitachi and Penske partner on large-scale electric truck charging pilot

For this pilot initiative, Hitachi Energy supplied Penske with its Grid-eMotion Fleet EV charging system.

BorgWarner-Santroll-eMotor-Handshake
Volvo Cars partners with and invests in Breathe for fast-charging software

Volvo said the collaboration with Breathe is the result of a sourcing agreement for its flagship product, Breathe Charge.

Volvo-Breathe

Other Posts

Stadler’s Flirt H2 hydrogen fuel cell train achieves Guinness World Record

The train traveled 1,741.7 miles for over 46 hours on one tank filling.

Stadler-Flirt-H2
Hyzon launches single-stack 200kW fuel cell system and powertrain

The fuel cell system may allow Hyzon to bring the same technology to industrial ecosystems beyond trucking, like mining, rail and marine.

hyzon_Prime_mover_Kangan
Autel releases the AC Elite G2 series for commercial and at-home charging

The charger can be used in various settings, such as public commercial parking areas, residential areas, hospitals and service areas.

Autel_Energy-AC-Elite-G2
IGH teams up with EnviroSpark to expand EV charging

IHG will provide hotel owners with an EV charging guide with best practices to encourage the installation of chargers.

ihg-press-release