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Powder is Used to Safely Transport and Store Hydrogen amidst Facilitation towards Energy Popularization

published: 2022-08-05 9:30

The research personnel at Deakin University has reached new breakthroughs by safely transporting and storing hydrogen, which helps to expand the popularization of hydrogen applications.

Hydrogen is a next-gen energy carrier that is currently under the spotlight, and also serves as the energy-conserving and carbon-reducing technology that is being aggressively developed by the global sector, which is why many scientists have unfolded key researches on hydrogen production, storage, transportation, power generation, heating and synthetic fuels. A safer storage and transportation method for hydrogen would help lower one of the major concerns of energy transportation.

The research team at the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) of Deakin University has also discovered a pristine method that separates, stores, and transports a large volume of gas, without any wastages. Professor Ying (Ian) Chen commented that a more effective usage of clean gas and fuels such as hydrogen is the alternative in lowering carbon emission and decelerating global warming.

The new method is relatively simple. The team adopted a special boron nitride powder, where the small particles possess vast absorbing surface area. Researcher Srikanth Mateti pointed out that boron nitride powder can be repeatedly used, and conducts the same gas separation and storage process over and over.  

 (Source: Deakin University)

Place the boron nitride powder and the gas that needs to be separated inside a ball mill, and the mechanochemical reaction generated from the collision as the chamber accelerates in rotation speed would allow the powder to absorb the gas. The process of gas absorption inside a ball mill consumes 76.8 KJ/s in storing and separating 1,000L of gas, which is 90% less than the energy required by the existing fossil-fuel separation technology.

Hydrogen is mostly stored in high-pressure cans right now, or cooled into liquid, and both methods require significant energy, alongside risks of explosion and dangerous chemicals. The research team now offers a cheaper and safer approach in contributing to hydrogen products.

As pointed out by the team, the process is exempted from harsh chemicals, and does not yield byproducts. Boron nitride is categorized as a zero-level chemical that can be safely used at home, and is absolutely safe as a media in gas storage. Just heat up the powder in a vacuum and you are good to go for the gas you needed.

The IFM team is now testing the technology in a small scale that aims to separate 2-3L of materials, though a temporary patent application has been submitted in the hope of expanding the current scale.

 (Cover photo source shutterstock)

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