In a finding that may help speed the production of ultra-clean fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen, scientists in Michigan are reporting development of a sponge-like nanomaterial with a record-high surface area for holding gases.
Just 1/30th of an ounce of the material has the approximate surface area of a football field.
Adam Matzger and colleagues note in the new study that scientists have tried for years to find a material to optimize hydrogen storage in futuristic fuel cell vehicles. Despite identifying several promising materials, researchers have been unable to meet the hydrogen storage goals proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, they state.
They describe development of a highly-porous nanomaterial with an unprecedented ability to absorb gases that may help meet DOE's target. Called University of Michigan Crystalline Material-2 (UMCM-2), it consists of zinc oxide nanoclusters — each about 1/50,000 the width of a human hair — linked together by organic materials to generate a robust porous framework.
The scientists showed that UMCM-2 has a surface area exceeding 5,000 square meters per gram which is, they say, the highest value ever achieved.
- Kyoungmoo Koh, Antek G. Wong-Foy and Adam J. Matzger. A Porous Coordination Copolymer with over 5000 m2/g BET Surface Area. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 131 (12): 4184 DOI: 10.1021/ja809985t
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