Scientists at the Technical University of Denmark have invented atechnology which may be an important step towards the hydrogen economy:a hydrogen tablet that effectively stores hydrogen in an inexpensiveand safe material.
With the new hydrogen tablet, it becomes much simpler to use theenvironmentally-friendly energy of hydrogen. Hydrogen is anon-polluting fuel, but since it is a light gas it occupies too muchvolume, and it is flammable. Consequently, effective and safe storageof hydrogen has challenged researchers world-wide for almost threedecades. At the Technical University of Denmark, DTU, aninterdisciplinary team has developed a hydrogen tablet which enablesstorage and transport of hydrogen in solid form.
“Should you drive a car 600 km using gaseous hydrogen at normalpressure, it would require a fuel tank with a size of nine cars. Withour technology, the same amount of hydrogen can be stored in a normalgasoline tank”, says Professor Claus Hviid Christensen, Department ofChemistry at DTU.
The hydrogen tablet is safe and inexpensive. In this respect it isdifferent from most other hydrogen storage technologies. You canliterally carry the material in your pocket without any kind of safetyprecaution. The reason is that the tablet consists solely of ammoniaabsorbed efficiently in sea-salt. Ammonia is produced by a combinationof hydrogen with nitrogen from the surrounding air, and the DTU-tablettherefore contains large amounts of hydrogen. Within the tablet,hydrogen is stored as long as desired, and when hydrogen is needed,ammonia is released through a catalyst that decomposes it back to freehydrogen. When the tablet is empty, you merely give it a “shot” ofammonia and it is ready for use again.
“The technology is a step towards making the society independent offossil fuels” says Professor Jens Nørskov, director of theNanotechnology Center at DTU. He, Claus Hviid Christensen, TueJohannessen, Ulrich Quaade and Rasmus Zink Sørensen are the fiveresearchers behind the invention. The advantages of using hydrogen arenumerous. It is CO2-free, and it can be produced by renewable energysources, e.g. wind power.
“We have a new solution to one of the major obstacles to the use ofhydrogen as a fuel. And we need new energy technologies – oil and gaswill not last, and without energy, there is no modern society”, saysJens Nørskov.
Together with DTU and SeeD Capital Denmark, the researchers havefounded the company Amminex A/S, which will focus on the furtherdevelopment and commercialization of the technology.
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