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Titanium-Doped Aluminum Breakthrough in Hydrogen Storage and Fuel Cells

UTD Researchers
UTD Researchers

There’s been a lot of research in materials sciences in finding cheaper alternatives in which to store hydrogen or use as catalysts for hydrogen reactions. Most of this breakthrough technology perpetually seems to be 10 to 20 years away before commercialization.

This is why when I heard about what the researchers at the University of Texas, Dallas are doing in regard to titanium-doped aluminum I got a bit excited since this seems to me to be more of a near-term solution rather than a longer term pie-in-the-sky idea.

The UTD researchers noticed that light-weight aluminum hydrides can be made to release its hydrogen bond by slightly increasing the temperature which is an advantage over current metal hydride systems that require more energy in order to release their bonds.

According to graduate student Irinder Singh Chopra, “We investigated a certain class of materials called complex metal hydrides (aluminum-based hydrides) in the hope of finding cheaper and more effective means of activating hydrogen.

“Our research into an aluminum-based catalyst turned out to be much more useful than just designing good storage materials. It has also provided very encouraging results into the possible use of this system as a very cheap and effective alternative to the materials currently used for fuel cells.”

So, let’s think about this statement for a moment. If it is true that titanium-doped aluminum holds the key for both hydrogen storage and as a catalyst in fuel cells, this will bring the price of storage tanks and FC’s way down without giving up any effectiveness. In fact, in the case of storage, hydrogen tanks will be more effective at releasing H2 at lower temperatures. And this, my friend, is a very Big Deal.

Pictured above are UTD researchers Irinder Chopra (left) and Jean-Francois Veyan.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen auto blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen autos, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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    This a nice news too for hydrogen storage “The researchers at the Charité University Medicine and the Humboldt University in Berlin, for the first time have managed to decipher the exact structural composition of a special hydrogen-forming enzyme”

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    Interesting, never heard of Aluminum being doped with Titanium.

    Strange though that yet another scheme comes out ,but other schemes we have heard about such as laser metal hydrides and nano blades have yet to be commercialized. The sheer number of ways to store hydrogen in a solid and release it from that solid is making me think that a web page is needed where different methods are tracked and compared.

    A thought, does all the hydrogen stored on a vehicle need to be stored in a solid metal hydride or could the bulk be in a metal hydride where a 100 mile high pressure tank is topped off whenever electricity is available? This is an attempt to strike a happy compromise between proven gaseous hydrogen storage and still unproven solid hydride storage. If the storage density of the solid is sufficiently high, even if it takes a fair amount of electricity to release hydrogen from it, a part gaseous part solid hydride fuel system could provide an impressive driving range. If every 100 miles or so you can stop at a charging station, which the EV fans are already convincing city planners to install, could a fuel cell vehicle potentially have a 1000 mile range? This is hypothetical of course where 100 is close to GM’s magic 40 but over twice that distance.

    It might be cheaper to develop a fuel cell auto with a 100 mile range and a supplementary fuel system. You might have to plug in to electricity to release hydrogen gas from the solid, but theoretically, the auto can go further than the current prototypes. A possibility is a solar collector on the roof of the vehicle to cause hydrogen to be slowly released from the hydride as you drive refilling the high pressure hydrogen gas tank.

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    Kevin it all goes with series, as we know how important hydrogen is for us. Thanks for this informative post.

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