Here is a story that has gone largely under-reported by the mainstream media over the weekend, but an important one nonetheless. Researchers at the Curtin University of Technology in Sydney, Australia have created tiny magnesium nanoparticles to store hydrogen.
Magnesium is cheap and it easily bonds with hydrogen. The only problem is that the bond is so strong it typically takes 300 degrees Celsius of heat to release it, making this storage method outside the scope of most fuel cell cars.
But the University scientists have run computer calculations that say that reducing the size of the magnesium particles also reduce the amount of heat needed to release the hydrogen from the particles.
According to the article, “To do this, the team used a process called ball-milling to create magnesium nanoparticles seven nanometers in diameter. The nanoparticles are embedded in a salt matrix, which keeps them apart, stopping them from grouping back into larger particles.”
The goal of the researchers is to reduce the size of the magnesium nanoparticles even more until they need only 100 degrees Celsius to release the hydrogen which is within the scope of most FCVs.
Right now, the two most expensive devices on any FCV is the price of the fuel cell and the cost of the hydrogen tanks. By reducing the costs associated with hydrogen tanks this takes FCVs one step closer to reality. With Earth Day happening later this week, taking another step closer to a green future is something that will be on many people’s minds right now.