Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Iron 'veins' are secret of promising new hydrogen storage material

Date:
September 1, 2011
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Scientists have a new approach to the problem of safely storing hydrogen in future fuel-cell powered cars -- molecular scale 'veins' of iron permeating grains of magnesium like a network of capillaries.

Particles of pure magnesium (left) can only collect a limited amount of hydrogen on their outer surfaces, and the process is slow. But when the magnesium is doped with iron (right), far more hydrogen is delivered through the iron layers, which also results in much faster charging.
Credit: NIST

With a nod to biology, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have a new approach to the problem of safely storing hydrogen in future fuel-cell-powered cars. Their idea: molecular scale "veins" of iron permeating grains of magnesium like a network of capillaries. The iron veins may transform magnesium from a promising candidate for hydrogen storage into a real-world winner.

Hydrogen has been touted as a clean and efficient alternative to gasoline, but it has one big drawback: the lack of a safe, fast way to store it onboard a vehicle. According to NIST materials scientist Leo Bendersky, iron-veined magnesium could overcome this hurdle. The combination of lightweight magnesium laced with iron could rapidly absorb -- and just as importantly, rapidly release -- sufficient quantities of hydrogen so that grains made from the two metals could form the fuel tank for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

"Powder grains made of iron-doped magnesium can get saturated with hydrogen within 60 seconds," says Bendersky, "and they can do so at only 150 degrees Celsius and fairly low pressure, which are key factors for safety in commercial vehicles."

Grains of pure magnesium are reasonably effective at absorbing hydrogen gas, but only at unacceptably high temperatures and pressures can they store enough hydrogen to power a car for a few hundred kilometers -- the minimum distance needed between fill-ups. A practical material would need to hold at least 6 percent of its own weight in hydrogen gas and be able to be charged safely with hydrogen in the same amount of time as required to fill a car with gasoline today.

The NIST team used a new measurement technique they devised that uses infrared light to explore what would happen if the magnesium were evaporated and mixed together with small quantities of other metals to form fine-scale mixtures. The team found that iron formed capillary-like channels within the grains, creating passageways for hydrogen transport within the metal grains that allow hydrogen to be drawn inside extremely fast. According to Bendersky, the magnesium-iron grains could hold up to 7 percent hydrogen by weight.

Bendersky adds that the measurement technique could be valuable more generally, as it can reveal details of how a material absorbs hydrogen more effectively than the more commonly employed technique of X-ray diffraction -- a method that is limited to analyzing a material's averaged properties.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhuopeng Tan, Chun Chiu, Edwin J. Heilweil, Leonid A. Bendersky. Thermodynamics, kinetics and microstructural evolution during hydrogenation of iron-doped magnesium thin films. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2011; 36 (16): 9702 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2011.04.196

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Iron 'veins' are secret of promising new hydrogen storage material." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831115812.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2011, September 1). Iron 'veins' are secret of promising new hydrogen storage material. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831115812.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Iron 'veins' are secret of promising new hydrogen storage material." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831115812.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins