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Promising new material for hydrogen storage

2008-04-11

You can investigate the hydrogen storage properties of different materials effectively with the aid of heavyweight computer calculations. Carlos Moysés Graça Araújo demonstrates this in his thesis that he is defending at Uppsala University on 11 April. His work includes a new lithium based material that looks very promising.

Our energy hungry world is becoming ever more dependent on new methods for storing and converting energy for new environment friendly technologies for transport, electricity production and even for portable electronics.

“The need to move goods and people is a socioeconomic reality, that is unlikely to reduce in the future. Which means the development of new technology is absolutely crucial,” says Carlos Moysés Graça Araújo.

Hydrogen is present everywhere and evenly distributed around the world, and the product that is formed on the oxidation of hydrogen – water – is harmless. Which is why hydrogen is considered the ideal fuel for future energy needs. But if this is to become a reality, a safe and efficient way of producing, transporting and storing hydrogen needs to be developed.

In the course of his thesis work Carlos Moysés Graça Araújo has performed extensive quantum mechanical research into a number of potential materials for hydrogen storage. He has been able to demonstrate e.g. the importance of catalysts in the hydrogen storage and liberation process in crystallisers NaAlH4 and NaBH4, and in nanoclusters of MgH2.

“This is very important knowledge when you are looking to design suitable hydrogen storage materials for applications in the transport sector,” explains Carlos Moysés Graça Araújo.

He has also performed a thermodynamic analysis of the Li-Mg-N-H system that fits well with experimental data and he has also researched into metal organic systems. The lithium based metal organic system was discovered during the course of this research and proved to offer the best properties for hydrogen storage yet found within this material group.

“It also proved able to store hydrogen at high temperatures, which makes it very interesting.”

The massive number crunching was done with the aid of a computer cluster at Uppmax (Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science) at Uppsala University.

For more information, please contact Carlos Moysés Graça Araújo, tel: +46 18 471 35 84, +46 76 235 98 95, or by email: Moyses.Araujo@fysik.uu.se