Japanese researchers have discovered a lightweight and robust material for storing highly compressed hydrogen gas. Other metal hydride tanks are typically heavy, adding a lot of weight to the vehicle and bringing down the MPGe’s.
According to The Engineer, “Lightweight interstitial hydrides – compounds in which hydrogen atoms occupy the spaces between metal atoms – have been proposed as a safe and efficient means for storing hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles. An aluminium-based alloy hydride is claimed to offer a more viable candidate because it has the desired traits of: light weight, no toxicity to plants and animals, and absence of volatile gas products except for hydrogen.
“Until now, however, only complex aluminium hydrides that are unsuitable for use as a hydrogen storage system have been created. In an APL Materials paper a joint research group with members from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and Tohoku University announced that it had achieved the goal of a simple-structured, aluminium-based interstitial alloy.”
The conditions used to manufacture the alloy were extreme. But now that the researchers have some experience with this aluminum alloy, they hope, going forward to produce similar materials using less heat and pressure in the process.