One of the key components on fuel cell cars that scientists have been struggling with for years has been hydrogen storage. Compressing hydrogen gas from 5,000 psi – 10,000 psi presents a lot of challenges. And, so does liquefying H2 gas.
So, Peter Schubert and his team of researchers at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) have created a unique method for storing hydrogen gas at low pressures and temperatures. Porous silicon storage which they have named the Hydrogen Sponge (sort of as this is really the company name) may just hold the key to robust, low cost onboard capture and release of H2.
According to IUPUI, “This has significant breakthrough potential because all existing hydrogen storage media now require either extremely high pressures or extremely cold temperatures to store amounts of hydrogen beyond 2 or 3 percent of the weight of the material holding it, Schubert said.
“Schubert’s patent theoretically offers the path to reversible, low-cost storage of hydrogen. Laboratory tests show storage up to 6.6 percent by weight when using porous silicon as a solid-state hydrogen storage media.”
My guess is that tanks filled with porous silicon will be a lot lighter than metal hydride tanks which will in turn add to the fuel mileage.
Schubert and his Hydrogen Sponge group are now turning to crowdfunding through Kickstarter, trying to gain money through U. S. research grants and even hitting up Chinese investors to prove the feasibility of this new technology. My hope is that Hydrogen Sponge starts soaking up investors and squeezing out commercial results in the very near future.