Effective storage of hydrogen and methane is one of the key hurdles scientists need to overcome if we are to see greater use of these types of alternative fuels used in vehicles.
Currently gas loss greatly impacts on the range of hydrogen cars, overtime gas can evaporate from storage tanks.
Thankfully a research team from the University of Surrey, in collaboration with scientists at Northwestern University in US, has made a major breakthrough in the development of secure gas storage which could be used as part of the production of cars.
For a while now, research around storage solutions has focused around a new class of crystalline and microporous materials known as "metal organic frameworks" (MOFs). The team of chemical engineers at Surrey have now developed two new MOF materials with record-breaking levels of internal surface area per gram –and therefore gas storage capacity.
The new materials have a internal surface area some 40 per cent greater than previous materials. If the internal surface area of one gram of one of these record breaking MOFs could be unfolded it would occupy the area of equivalent to the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal plays its games in the Premier League.
“The key is exposing more surface per available space for gas molecules to stick” says Dr Yazaydin who led the theoretical part of the study. “Benzene molecules, which are commonly used in MOFs as organic linkers, are like hexagonal rings, and gas molecules can only stick onto the ring’s outer surface, thus the inner sides of each benzene unit is essentially wasted space. If you break the ring and straighten it then both sides become available for gas adsorption. That is exactly what we did”.
He added: “The breakthrough heralds a whole new dimension to the potential for using gas to power vehicles.
The results of the research were published in the September 12, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
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