The future of fuel-based automobile engines may lie with hydrogen
because the element (the most plentiful in the universe) creates no emissions except water, making it one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels. (As of 2016, there are 3 hydrogen cars publicly available in select markets: the Toyota Mirai, the Hyundai ix35 FCEV, and the Honda Clarity). A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle runs on compressed hydrogen fed into a fuel cell "stack" that produces electricity for power.
A fuel cell can be used in combination with an electric motor for a powerful, quiet, clean ride.
But transporting and storing hydrogen poses its own problems:
it requires heavy, expensive tanks, and the procedure can be dangerous as the mixture of air and hydrogen is extremely flammable. Consequently, it was suggested to store hydrogen while transporting it in various storage mediums. Now, Russian scientists have developed a superior hydrogen storage material, according to an announcement by the press office of Siberian Federal University (SFU), as reported by TASS, the Russian News Agency.
"The most secure and effective solution (to storing hydrogen while transporting it in various storage mediums) is to apply hydride-forming metals capable of absorbing hydrogen,” said Grigory Churilov the research study’s coauthor, SFU professor and research assistant at the Kirensky Institute of Physics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. (A hydride is defined as “any of a class of chemical compounds in which hydrogen is combined with another element.”)
“Out of all metals, magnesium is believed to be the most encouraging alternative. . .(and) many scientists are involved in studying the possible creation of hydrogen accumulators based on magnesium hydride," Mr. Churilov added.
According to theoretical estimations, magnesium can absorb hydrogen in amounts of up to 7.6% of its own mass. However, in most modern experiments, the capacity of magnesium hydride does not exceed 5-6 weight percents.
The research team from Krasnoyarsk boosted this value by adding nickel and platinum to the magnesium hydride, and obtained a new material with advanced accumulation capability.
The material they developed, based on the magnesium hydride, can store hydrogen in an amount of about 7% of its own weight--namely the record-breaking value of capacity for all similar materials.
The Kirensky Institute of Physics was founded in 1956. Its founder and first director was academician and eminent scientist Leonid Vasil’evich Kirensky. Krasnoyarsk is a prominent scientific and educational center of Siberia, with more than 30 higher education facilities.
The scientists’ article has been published in the last volume of the SFU’s journal "Mathematics and Physics."
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