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New form of compound stimulates research on hydrogen storage
Date:12/4/2007

This release is also available in French.

Research on hydrogen-fueled cars may be one step closer to application thanks to a new form of hydride discovered by scientists at the ESRF. The material, lithium borohydride, is a promising energy storage system: it contains 18 weight percents of hydrogen, which makes it attractive for use in hydrogen-fueled cars. Its drawback is that it only releases hydrogen at quite high temperatures (above 300C). The team has found a new form of the compound that could possibly release hydrogen in mild conditions. This discovery was completely unexpected from the point of view of theoretical predictions.

Automotive industry regards hydrogen as a perspective energy carrier. If a good hydrogen storage material will be developed, the petrol in cars can be replaced by clean hydrogen energy. Five kilograms of hydrogen would take you as far as twenty liters of petrol. Today there are several compounds of interest, which are known to either store relatively large amounts of hydrogen or release it easily, but none do both in a way suitable for practical application.

Researchers at the Swiss-Norwegian experimental stations (beamlines) at the ESRF are currently studying several compounds of light elements with hydrogen and the different forms they take at different pressure and temperature. Lithium borohydride, LiBH4, is one of the compounds they study as it has a high weight content of hydrogen (18%). The new form of this compound, which scientists have just discovered, is promising because it appears to be unstable. Until today, all the known forms of this material are too stable, which means that they dont let the hydrogen go. This one is really unexpected and very encouraging, says Yaroslav Filinchuk, the corresponding author of the paper.

In order to obtain new forms of lithium borohydride, the team applied to
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Contact: Montserrat Capellas
capellas@esrf.fr
33-476-882-663
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility  
Source:Eurekalert

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