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Researchers show applied electric field can significantly improve hydrogen storage properties
Date:2/2/2010

RICHMOND, Va. (Feb. 2, 2010) An international team of researchers has identified a new theoretical approach that may one day make the synthesis of hydrogen fuel storage materials less complicated and improve the thermodynamics and reversibility of the system.

Many researchers have their sights set on hydrogen as an alternative energy source to fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal that contain carbon, pollute the environment and contribute to global warming. Known to be the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is considered an ideal energy carrier not to mention that it's clean, environmentally friendly and non-toxic. However, it has been difficult to find materials that can efficiently and safely store and release it with fast kinetics under ambient temperature and pressure.

The team of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University; Peking University in Beijing; and the Chinese Academy of Science in Shanghai; have developed a process using an electric field that can significantly improve how hydrogen fuel is stored and released.

"Although tremendous efforts have been devoted to experimental and theoretical research in the past years, the biggest challenge is that all the existing methods do not meet the Department of Energy targets for hydrogen storage materials. The breakthrough can only be achieved by exploring new mechanisms and new principles for materials design," said Qiang Sun, Ph.D., research associate professor with the VCU team, who led the study.

"We have made such an attempt, and we have proposed a new principle for the design of hydrogen storage materials which involves materials with low-coordinated, non-metal anions that are highly polarizable in an applied electric field," he said.

"Using an external electric field as another variable in our search for such a material will bring a hydrogen economy closer to reality. This is a paradigm shift in the approach to store hyd
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Contact: Sathya Achia Abraham
sbachia@vcu.edu
804-827-0890
Virginia Commonwealth University
Source:Eurekalert  

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