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Hydrogen storage: as simple as AB

ChemicalIt seems that researchers in the Pacific Northwest may have just cracked one of the problems about Hydrogen, how to store it.

It’s all very well having an internal combustion engine that emits only water but if you struggle to store it then it’s not that practical.

The work by Heldebrant, Karkamkar, Linehan and Autrey of the US based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory focuses on a powder, ammonia borane (AB), as a means to easily store hydrogen.  The full research was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry last month.

Going back to rather basic A-level exam chemistry AB is a white powder which, when heated, gives off hydrogen.  AB also stores more hydrogen by volume than even liquid H2.  Using AB would also mean that swathes of electricity would not be needed to produce the hydrogen from water.

According to the paper, producing high yields has proved difficult, however, new techniques may make it applicable to the fuel cell market.

According to Autrey, the paper’s lead author, “we envision that this simpler procedure can be scaled up and the solvents can be recycled.”

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