A Breakthrough for Hydrogen Storage?
Posted by keelynet on December 27, 2009
Another step to making hydrogen as fuel a viable technology.
On Nov. 25, Germany’s Federal Institute for Materials Research & Testing (known by its German acronym, BAM) released results of nearly two years of tests on C.En’s technology, which involves the storage of compressed hydrogen inside bundles of thin, strong tubes of glass, known as capillary arrays.
“The lightweight storage and safety factors give the technology a huge commercial potential for a whole range of industries,” says Kai Holtappels, who heads up the working group at BAM that has been testing the technology since February 2008.
A team of scientists first invented the capillary array technology at Moscow’s Kurchatov Institute for use in the Soviet space program. Stern thinks his system can be adopted by the electronics industry to replace conventional batteries in portable devices such as laptops and mobile phones.
The challenges of using hydrogen, though, have always been the size of containers needed to store the volatile gas and the risk of explosion. C.En claims to have overcome those problems with its leakproof capillary arrays. “Glass has proven to have three times the storage capacity at only a third of the weight of steel containers that are now commonly used for hydrogen storage, and it’s far cheaper,” says Eliezer.
Outside experts are impressed at the potential, but are taking a wait-and-see attitude. “If C.En’s capillaries can withstand the external pressure, the technology could be practical in vehicles and electrical devices,” says Yoel Sasson, a professor of applied chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who notes that another critical factor will be the cost of producing the capillary arrays.” – Full Article Source
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