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Hydrogen Storage Startup Wins UQ Enterprise Competition

Startup hydrogen storage company Hydrexia Pty Ltd has snagged the A$100,000 top prize in the University of Queensland (UQ) Business School Enterprize competition.

Hydrexia was established by UQ’s development organization, UniQuest, to commercialize the hydrogen storage technology developed by Associate Professor Arne Dahle and Dr Kazuhiro Nogita from the Division of Materials Engineering.

Hydrexia uses cast magnesium-nickel alloys with novel nano-structure to store hydrogen as a solid metal hydride. To maximize the hydrogen storage capacity and hydrogen release rate, modifications have been made to the casting technique, but without adding significantly to the cost or complexity of the production process.

Under laboratory conditions, Hydrexia’s alloys have demonstrated a hydrogen storage capacity of up to 7 wt%, which would allow a vehicle carrying a 100kg hydrogen storage unit to safely store hydrogen for a 500km driving range (a target set by the US Department of Energy for hydrogen storage systems by 2010).

A number of groups have studied the hydriding-dehydriding, structural, electric, thermal and kinetic properties of magnesium nickel hydride (Mg2NiH4) since 1968. The material is regarded as a promising metal hydride for hydrogen storage, but under normal temperature conditions, the equilibrium pressure is so low that it practically does not desorb hydrogen. One of the keys, then, to successfully developing a magnesium-nickel hydride solution is to structurally destabilize it.

Hydrexia CEO Jeffrey Ng says his company’s technology approach is five times cheaper than its closest competitor.



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