Scientists at the University of Maryland have created a one-atom thick graphene nanocage that opens and closes to store hydrogen atoms. And the storage capacity of this nanocage already has exceeded Department of Energy’s goals.
According to Nanowerks, “Mechanical engineers Shuze Zhu and Teng Li have found that they can make tiny squares of graphene fold into a box, which will open and close itself in response to an electric charge.
“Inside the box, they’ve tucked hydrogen atoms, and have done so more efficiently than was thought possible. The U.S. Department of Energy is searching for ways to make storing energy with hydrogen a practical possibility, and they set up some goals: by 2017, the Department had hoped that a research team could pack in 5.5 percent hydrogen by weight, and that by 2020, it could be stretched to 7.5 percent.
“Li’s team has already crossed that threshold, with a hydrogen storage density of 9.5 percent hydrogen by weight. The team has also demonstrated the potential to reach an even higher density, a future research goal.”
The research team likens the procedure to paper origami in regard to creating complicated 3D structures from thin 2D materials. Hydro-gami, anyone? Or perhaps carbo-gami?