Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 21

New Sponge-like Gas Storage Material

Posted in Energy Inventions | Fuel Cells | Hydrogen Fuel

Gas Storage Material Environmentalists, common man, scientists, politicians, everyone want to breathe fresh and clean air and leave this earth in a better shape for next generation. Environmentalists and scientists are working to make this planet a better place to live. Hydrogen driven vehicles are a small step towards that goal. But the main hurdle to produce hydrogen vehicles on a mass scale is that they can’t store much fuel. Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Arizona State University have developed a sponge-like material, a new metal-organic framework that has a record breaking surface area. This kind of material can be very useful for many industrial applications such as catalysis, separation, and gas storage.


Adam Matzger who is an associate professor of chemistry in the University of Michigan, led the team and published their work online in a paper on March 6 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Matzger said about the surface area, “Surface area is an important, intrinsic property that can affect the behavior of materials in processes ranging from the activity of catalysts to water detoxification to purification of hydrocarbons.”

Researchers were working on this aspect for a long time. A few years ago, the upper limit for surface area of porous materials was around 3,000 square meters per gram. In the year 2004, a U-M team that included Matzger also developed a material known as MOF-177 that set a new record. MOF-177 created a new category of materials called as metal-organic frameworks. Metal-organic frameworks are scaffold-like structures which are made up of metal hubs linked together with struts composed of organic compounds. It is amazing that just one gram of MOF-177 has the surface area of a football field.

Matzger shared his views, “Pushing beyond that point has been difficult.” But he and his team continue to work on the same line and achieved the feat with the new material known as UMCM-2 (University of Michigan Crystalline Material-2). UMCM-2 has a record-breaking surface area of more than 5,000 square meters per gram!

To create UMCM-2 the researchers employed a technique called coordination copolymerization. They applied the same technique to create UMCM-1. UMCM-1was made up of six, microporous cage-like structures surrounding a large, hexagonal channel. This time they used a slightly different combination of ingredients and the result is UMCM-2. UMCM-2 is composed of fused cages of various sizes and does not have the channel found in UMCM-1. Matzger said about the new material, “The new structure is a bit surprising and shows how the coordination copolymerization method has real potential for new materials discovery.”

This development may help speed the production of ultra-clean fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen. If we talk in a layman’s term then we can say that just 1/30th of an ounce of the sponge-like nanomaterial has the approximate surface area of a football field. This sponge-like nanomaterial may meet the hydrogen storage goals proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

This sponge-like nonomaterial or UMCM-2 consists of zinc oxide nanoclusters. Each zinc oxide nanocluster is about 1/50,000 the width of a human hair. These zinc oxide nanoclusters are linked together by organic materials to produce a robust porous framework. Now what Matzger thinks about future? He explained, “More and more attention, both by the team at Michigan and in industry will be focused on moving applications forward in areas such as hydrogen storage and large molecule separations.”

  • russ

    For any catalyst porosity is also critical – wonder how this material is on that point?

  • Gay Mullins

    What is the weight of the storage unit using your latest material divided into the weight of hydrogen it will hold?

  • http://www.push.pickensplan.com/profile/wdanchance Dan Chance

    As described, this material will not excite the imagination or the hopes of any but the most narrowly focused researcher in pursuit of ultimate density for gas storage. To get the rest of us excited, tell us how much closer this gets us to safe storage of enough H2 to move us 300 or 500 miles down the road in a vehicle powered by an H2 engine.

  • Alex Heinze

    Does this material have the ability to store methane? A great deal of methane, natural gas is wasted, burned off at oil wells around the world. Many of these gas producers are in small fields and have no convenient economical way of storing or moving this natural. So what we have is a raw material, natural gas, that is essentially free and being wasted now. Besides being a waste product instead of a by product it adds to our environmental concerns without producing a benefit. I’m a retired engineer with interests on small stripper oil wells. I do not have the resources to pursue this, but if someone could check out the numbers and the dollars here we might get a win/win situation.

    Alex Heinze


Hydrogen-Powered Tram Developed in China

hydrogen-tram

In an effort to reduce China’s harmful and plentiful greenhouse gas emissions, Chinese company Sifang (a subsidiary of China South Rail Corporation) has developed the world’s first hydrogen powered tram.

Hydrogen Generation & Storage Made Easy with Nano-Technology

Hydrogen Generation & Storage Made Easy with Nano-Technology

Fuels like gasoline, based on hydrocarbon, create pollution and carbon footprint. Hydrogen has been claimed to be a good alternative to replace fossil fuel since the 1970s. But hydrogen’s

Ramanathan’s Work on Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells

Ramanathan’s Work on Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells

A team of researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences that is headed by Sriram Ramanathan is working on developing fuel cells. If Ramanathan is to

New Process to Boost Hydrogen Fuel Cell Usage

New Process to Boost Hydrogen Fuel Cell Usage

A new process is being tested by chemical engineers of Purdue University to get high hydrogen production at fuel-cell temperature-level with no catalyst use. This is full of promise

New Platinum Could Mean Cheaper, More Efficient Fuel Cells

New Platinum Could Mean Cheaper, More Efficient Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are clean and green cells. They work without polluting the environment. Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that transform the chemical energy of a fuel into electricity generating

Hydrogen Gas Production Doubled with New Super Bacterium

Hydrogen Gas Production Doubled with New Super Bacterium

Hydrogen gas is today used primarily for manufacturing chemicals, but a bright future is predicted for it as a vehicle fuel in combination with fuel cells. In order to

Honda Solar Hydrogen Station Introduced to Green Car Market

Honda Solar Hydrogen Station Introduced to Green Car Market

Honda finally unveiled their new solar hydrogen solar station and all signs point to a dramatic success. The station is smaller than previous models and enables an electric car

The East Coast is About to Become the Hydrogen Highway

The East Coast is About to Become the Hydrogen Highway

Everyone is excited about hydrogen cars, but there is always the challenge of how they are going to fill up. Most cars are restricted by the distance that they