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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

DOE issues request for information on a Hydrogen Technology Showcase and Training (HyTeST) station

June 23, 2016

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office has issued a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001555) to obtain feedback from stakeholders regarding the construction and benefits of a National Hydrogen Technology Showcase and Training (HyTeST) station.

The facility would serve as a tool for research and development, testing, safety and demonstration training, and outreach for community and commercial early adopters, including station developers, owners, code officials, first responders, operators, investors, and insurers.

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DOE awarding $16M to 54 projects to help commercialize promising energy technology from national labs

June 22, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $16 million in funding to help businesses move promising energy technologies from DOE’s National Laboratories to the marketplace. This first Department-wide round of funding through the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) will support 54 projects at 12 national labs involving 52 private-sector partners. Among the selected technologies are a number addressing advanced vehicle and transportation needs.

The TCF is administered by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), which works to expand the commercial impact of DOE’s portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities. In February of 2016, OTT announced the first solicitation to the DOE National Laboratories for TCF funding proposals. It received 104 applications from across the laboratory system, for projects in two topic areas:

  • Topic Area 1: Projects for which additional technology maturation is needed to attract a private partner; and

  • Topic Area 2: Cooperative development projects between a lab and industry partner(s), designed to bolster the commercial application of a lab developed technology.

All projects selected for the TCF will receive an equal amount of non-federal funds to match the federal investment.

A selected list of transportation-related TCF selections, as well as the Topic Area 2 projects and their private sector partners is below.

Transportation-related TCF Awards
Technology National Lab Partner Funding
Manufacturing Of Advanced Alnico Magnets for Energy Efficient Traction Drive Motors Ames Carpenter Powder Products $325,000
Direct Fabrication of Fuel Cell Electrodes by Electrodeposition of High-performance Core-shell Catalysts Brookhaven $100,000
Nitride-Stabilized Pt Core-Shell Electrocatalysts for Fuel Cell Cathodes Brookhaven $100,000
Enhancing Lithium-Ion Battery Safety for Vehicle Technologies and Energy Storage Idaho $119,005
Vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus Network Safety and Security System Idaho Mercedes-Benz R&D North America $150,000
Large Area Polymer Protected Lithium Metal Electrodes with Engineered Dendrite-Blocking Ability Lawrence Berkeley $73,831
Cryo-Compressed Hydrogen Tank Technology in an Internal Combustion Engine Application Lawrence Livermore GoTek Energy $431,995
Scaled Production Of High Octane Biofuel From Biomass-Derived Dimethyl Ether NREL Enerkem $740,000
Thermal Management for Planar Package Power Electronics NREL John Deere Electronic Solutions (JDES) $250,000
Assembly Of Dissimilar Aluminum Alloys For Automotive Application PNNL $500,000
Development of Electrolytes for Lithium Ion Batteries in Wide Temperature Range Applications PNNL Farasis Energy, Navitas Systems $375,000
Direct Extruded High Conductivity Copper for Electric Machines Manufactured Using the ShAPE Process PNNL General Motors R&D $600,000
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USC team develops new robust iridium catalyst for release of hydrogen from formic acid

June 17, 2016

A team of researchers at the University of Southern California has developed a robust, reusable iridium catalyst that enables hydrogen gas release from neat formic acid. The catalyst works under mild conditions in the presence of air, is highly selective and affords millions of turnover numbers (TONs).

Although other catalysts exist for both formic acid dehydrogenation and carbon dioxide reduction, solutions to date on hydrogen gas release rely on volatile components that reduce the weight content of stored hydrogen and/or introduce fuel cell poisons; this new catalyst does not. An open-access paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

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DOE issues request for information on medium- and heavy-duty fuel cell electric truck targets

June 10, 2016

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) has issued a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001600) to obtain feedback and opinions from truck operators, truck and storage tank manufacturers, fuel cell manufacturers, station equipment designers, and other related stakeholders on issues related to medium- and heavy-duty (MD and HD) fuel cell electric truck targets.

The MD/HD market spans multiple weight classes (i.e. class 3-8 or 10,000-80,000+ lbs.) and vocational uses (i.e. delivery van, tractor trailer, flatbed, etc.). Today, MD/HD trucks account for 28% of petroleum use in the US transportation sector, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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DOE issues Request for Information on hydrogen storage for onboard vehicle applications

June 08, 2016

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) has issued a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001596) to obtain feedback and input from stakeholders on strategies and potential pathways for cost reduction and performance improvements of composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) systems for compressed hydrogen storage for onboard vehicle applications. The purpose of the RFI is to identify future strategic research and development pathways for the DOE to pursue with potential to meet future system cost targets.

Currently, carbon fiber (CF) reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites are used to make COPVs. Type III COPVs have a metallic liner and Type IV COPVs have non-metallic liners. COPVs designed to store hydrogen gas at pressures up to 700 bar are being deployed in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) currently available on the market.

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New catalyst system produces H2 and CO2 from formic acid at low temperatures

June 07, 2016

An international team led by researchers at the University of Melbourne has developed a new catalyst system for the efficient removal of CO2 from formic acid (HO2CH), resulting in the production of CO2 and H2 at a low temperature of 70 °C. Other methods for producing hydrogen from formic acid have required high temperatures, and also produce waste products.

The work, described in an open-access paper in Nature Communications marks a new frontier in catalyst design at the molecular level. Such catalysts are formulated to produce highly selective chemical reactions.

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Hydrogenious Technologies partners with United Hydrogen Group (UHG) to bring novel LOHC H2 storage system to US market

May 04, 2016

One of Anglo American Platinum’s investments, Hydrogenious Technologies, a German hydrogen storage startup, has launched its first commercial hydrogen storage and logistics system using its innovative Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) technology.

Hydrogenious Technologies is a spin-off from the University of Erlangen- Nuremberg (Germany), which also holds a stake in the company, and the Bavarian Hydrogen Center. Instead of storing hydrogen either under high pressure of up to 700 bar or in liquid form at –253 °C, Hydrogenious’ technology catalytically binds and releases the hydrogen molecules to liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs). (Earlier post.)

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Japanese public-private partnership to test end-to-end H2 supply chain using wind power to begin this fall; 2nd-life hybrid batteries for ESS

March 14, 2016

A Japanese partnership comprising the Kanagawa Prefectural Government; the municipal governments of the cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki; Toyota; Toshiba; and Iwatani announced the forthcoming start of a four-year project to implement and evaluate an end-to-end low-carbon hydrogen supply chain which will use hydrogen produced from renewable energy to power forklifts. (Earlier post.) The project will be carried out at facilities along Tokyo Bay in Yokohama and Kawasaki, with support from Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.

Electricity generated at the Yokohama City Wind Power Plant (Hama Wing) will power the electrolytic production of hydrogen, which will then be compressed, stored, and then transported in a hydrogen fueling truck to four sites: a factory, a vegetable and fruit market, and two warehouses. At these locations, the hydrogen will be used in fuel cells to power forklifts operating in diverse conditions.

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Kawasaki Heavy and Shell to partner on technologies for transporting liquefied hydrogen by sea

The Nikkei reports that Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Royal Dutch Shell will partner to develop technologies for transporting large volumes of liquefied hydrogen by sea.

Kawasaki has already been collaborating with Iwatani and Electric Power Development in hydrogen mass production and transportation. Kawasaki is also currently developing a small test vessel for the marine transportation of liquefied hydrogen. (Earlier post.) The vessel will have a cargo capacity of 2,500 m3, equivalent to that of coastal trading LNG vessels.

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Berkeley Lab team develops new high-performance solid-state H2 storage material: graphene oxide (GO)/Mg nanocrystal hybrid

March 12, 2016

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new, environmentally stable solid-state hydrogen storage material constructed of Mg nanocrystals encapsulated by atomically thin and gas-selective reduced graphene oxide (rGO) sheets.

This material, protected from oxygen and moisture by the rGO layers, exhibits dense hydrogen storage (6.5 wt% and 0.105 kg H2 per liter in the total composite). As rGO is atomically thin, this approach minimizes inactive mass in the composite, while also providing a kinetic enhancement to hydrogen sorption performance.

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First UAV test flight with Cella solid-state hydrogen storage and fuel-cell power system

February 08, 2016

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) recently completed a UAV test flight using Cella Energy’s hydrogen-based power system. The system is based on Cella’s solid, nanostructured chemical hydride hydrogen storage material which is capable of releasing large quantities of hydrogen when heated. Cella Energy is a spin-off from STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK. (Earlier post.)

Cella designed and built a gas generator using this material, which when combined with a fuel cell, creates electrical power. The complete system—Cella gas generator along with a fuel cell supplied and integrated by Arcola Energy—is considerably lighter than the lithium-ion battery it replaced.

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Researchers find some solid-state hydrogen storage materials could serve as less toxic solid propellants for rockets

January 25, 2016

Researchers in China have found that amine metal borohydride—a novel hydrogen-enriched boron–nitrogen–hydrogen (BNH) hydrogen storage system—has potential as a solid propellant or additive for solid and hybrid rockets.

In a paper in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, they investigated the combustion properties of two newly developed ethylene diamine aluminum borohydrides (Al(BH4)3·nEDA, n = 3, 2). They found the materials have high combustion heat of 32.20 and 36.90 MJ/kg for Al(BH4)3·3EDA and Al(BH4)3·2EDA, respectively, with ignition delay times of ∼2.0 ms.

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PNNL team scales up ammonia borane slurry for on-board H2 storage for automotive applications

December 26, 2015

A team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is scaling up their work on the use of ammonia borane (AB) slurries optimized with an ultrasonic process for automotive hydrogen storage applications. Ammonia borane is an atttractive material for chemical hydrogen storage (CHS) due to its high hydrogen content of 14–16 wt % below 200 °C.

CHS materials release hydrogen at low temperatures but are not easily rehydrided as are metal hydrides, needing instead to use chemical regeneration. In work reported earlier this year (Choi et al.), the PNNL team optimized a model AB slurry in silicone oil, obtaining up to 40 wt % (ca. 6.5 wt % H2) loading. The US Department of Energy (DOE) gravimetric target for on-board hydrogen storage is near 10 wt %. In the current work, reported in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, the team optimized the slurry production to prepare 50 wt % (ca. 8 wt % H2) AB slurries and proceeded toward making liter-size batches to show scalability.

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DOE releases three reports showing strong growth in US fuel cell and hydrogen technologies market

December 24, 2015

The US Department of Energy (DOE) released three new reports today showcasing strong growth across the US fuel cell and hydrogen technologies market. According to these reports, the United States continues to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.

With support from the Energy Department, its national laboratories and private industry have already achieved significant advances in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, resulting in reduced costs and improved performance. These research and development efforts have helped reduce automotive fuel cell costs by more than 50% since 2006 and by more than 30% since 2008. At the same time, fuel cell durability has quadrupled and the amount of expensive platinum needed in fuel cells has decreased by 80 percent in the last decade.

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Purdue, EPFL team propose Hydricity concept for integrated co-production of H2 and electricity from solar thermal energy

December 16, 2015

Researchers from Purdue University and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland are proposing a new integrated process involving the co-production of hydrogen and electricity from solar thermal energy—a concept they label “hydricity”. They describe their proposal in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The hydricity process entails integrating solar water power (SWP) cycle and solar thermal hydrogen production technologies and a turbine-based hydrogen power cycle with suitable improvements of each for compatibility and beneficial interaction.

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DOE issues $35M funding opportunity for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies

December 11, 2015

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $35 million in available funding to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technologies (earlier post) to support research and development, early market deployments, and domestic manufacturing. The Department also aims to develop collaborative consortia for fuel cell performance and durability and advanced hydrogen storage materials research to leverage the capabilities of national lab core teams.

The available funding (DE-FOA-0001412) includes hydrogen production, delivery, and storage research and development (R&D); demonstration of infrastructure component manufacturing, and support for Climate Action Champions deploying hydrogen and fuel cell technologies; consortia topics for fuel cell performance and durability and advanced hydrogen storage materials research; and cost and performance analysis for hydrogen production, storage, and fuel cells.

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DOE issues RFI on advanced thermal insulation for cold/cryogenic compressed gas on-board fuel storage

October 21, 2015

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) has issued a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001420) on advanced thermal insulation for sub-ambient temperature alternative fuel onboard storage systems. Alternative fuels could include hydrogen or natural gas stored onboard the vehicle at sub-ambient temperatures as a compressed gas, liquefied gas or adsorbed onto a porous material.

DOE is requesting information on how to maintain vacuum stability of systems; use of advanced composites within the systems; and accelerated test methods to determine performance and applicability of materials and systems for long-term cold and cryogenic based alternative fuel storage systems for onboard vehicle applications.

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Hydrexia and HyGear partner on low-cost hydrogen distribution in Europe; solid state storage and delivery

October 13, 2015

Australia-based hydrogen solid state storage and distribution company Hydrexia has entered an agreement with Netherlands-based HyGear, supplier of industrial gases and on-site generation systems, to supply hydrogen in Europe. The hydrogen will be produced by HyGear’s small-scale Hy.GEN steam methane reforming (SMR) facilities located across Europe.

The agreement between the two companies allows for development and supply of a complete hydrogen generation, storage and distribution system with a lower cost product for customers. Hydrexia is entering the European market in partnership with HyGear with the intention of becoming a distributor of the lowest cost hydrogen in Europe.

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Sandia, Berkeley and Los Alamos labs in $9M effort for automotive onboard solid-state hydrogen storage; HyMARC

October 08, 2015

Sandia National Laboratories will lead a new tri-lab consortium to address unsolved scientific challenges in the development of viable solid-state materials for storage of hydrogen onboard vehicles. Better onboard hydrogen storage could lead to more reliable and economic hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Called the Hydrogen Materials—Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC), the program is funded by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at $3 million per year for three years ($9 million total), with the possibility of renewal. In addition to Sandia, the core team includes Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories.

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New Pd-based nanomaterial catalyst breaks down formic acid to H2; boost for practical chemical H2 storage

September 24, 2015

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have developed a simple method for producing a palladium-based nanomaterial that can spur the breakdown of formic acid (FA) into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Its efficiency far exceeds that of any other reported heterogeneous catalyst, they say. They also found that their process produced carbon dioxide and hydrogen without carbon monoxide contamination, which has been a problem with other methods.

In a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they suggest that the results open up new avenues in the effective applications of FA for hydrogen storage, including on-board storage for fuel cell vehicles.

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Toyota and public and private partners in Japan to trial renewable CO2-free hydrogen supply chain

September 08, 2015

Major corporate and public sector partners in Japan are launching an effort to test a full carbon-neutral hydrogen supply chain powered by renewable wind energy. The trials are planned to take place near the cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki in the Keihin coastal region.

On the public sector side, the project is being implemented by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, Yokohama City, and Kawasaki City. The four private sector participants are Iwatani Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Toyota Turbine and Systems Inc. In addition, the project will be supported by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.

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DLR techno-economic valuation of power-to-liquids finds reducing electrolyzer and electricity costs key to cost-competitive liquid hydrocarbons

July 20, 2015

In 2012, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers launched a three-year project on the production of synthetic liquid hydrocarbons from electricity (i.e. Power-to-Liquids, PtL) using a multistage process (SynKWS), in cooperation with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) – Institute of Combustion Technology Stuttgart; the University of Stuttgart IFK; and the University of Bayreuth – Chair of Chemical Engineering.

As part of the SynKWS work, DLR researchers have now published a techno-economic study of a modeled PtL process in the journal Fuel. The multi-stage process uses renewable power to produce hydrogen using a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer. The hydrogen from electrolysis and CO2, delivered by a pipeline, are fed to a plant where the gases are converted in a reverse water–gas shift (RWGS) reactor to syngas (H2 and CO). The syngas is then further converted to hydrocarbons using Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis. The hydrocarbon syncrude is upgraded and separated from unreacted feed and gaseous hydrocarbons to make the final product.

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Fukushima launching power-to-gas hydrogen project with MCH as hydrogen carrier; supply center by 2016

Fukushima and the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute (FREA) have launched a power-to-has project with a view to making the prefecture a hydrogen supply center by as early as 2016, according to a report in The Japan Times, via Fukushima Minpo. The project will test and refine a model of hydrogen-supply infrastructure, which would then be used in creating a functioning supply center.

The project is a collaboration between the prefecture and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the parent of FREA. AIST established FREA in April 2014 to promote R&D into renewable energy. FREA has two basic missions: the promotion of R&D into renewable energy, which is open to the world; and making a contribution to industrial clusters and reconstruction.

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Total hydrogen station in Munich first to feature standard compressed H2 and BMW cryo-compressed H2 technology

July 16, 2015

Total has opened a hydrogen filling station on Munich’s Detmoldstraße. The station, which completes the European HyFIVE project’s South Cluster—comprising Stuttgart, Munich, Innsbruck and Bolsano—is the first public filling station at which the two pumps dispense hydrogen using two different types of refueling technology: industry-standard 700 bar CGH2 hydrogen storage technology (SAE J2601); and cryo-compressed hydrogen storage technology (CCH2).

Cryo-compressed hydrogen storage, being developed by the BMW Group based on its long experience with cryogenic storage, involves storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature on board the vehicle at a pressure of up to 350 bar. It is currently at the advanced development stage and will only come on stream for general use over the longer time frame. CCH2 tanks offer up to 50% more hydrogen storage capacity than 700 bar tanks and can support a driving range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).

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BMW shows future drive technologies; 2 Series PHEV prototype, direct water injection in 3-cyl. engine, and fuel cell eDrive

July 02, 2015

During a driving event at the Miramas proving grounds in southern France, BMW presented future drive technologies, including the prototype of a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with plug-in hybrid drive. This application of BMW eDrive technologies features the first PHEV system with a front/transverse-mounted combustion engine, high-voltage generator and road-linked all-wheel drive via an electric drive system at the rear axle.

The company also showcased the use of direct water injection to enhance the efficiency of combustion engines at higher performance levels while also significantly reducing fuel consumption and emissions in key driving cycles. Finally, BMW showcased a hydrogen fuel cell drive system as a future-focused variant of BMW eDrive (teased in a technical session during April’s SAE World Congress in Detroit) enabling all-electric driving with a high operating range and short refueling times. (BMW is collaborating with Toyota on fuel cell systems. Earlier post.)

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Study of size-dependent properties of Mg nanoparticles in H2 storage suggests path to better performance; potential for better on-board tanks

July 01, 2015

Although magnesium hydride (MgH2) is a promising solid-state hydrogen storage material, its slow hydrogen sorption kinetics have limited its application. Recent studies have shown, however, that with smaller Mg particles, the sorption kinetics improve. Since volume change during sorption generates stress, leading in turn to plastic deformation, the fundamentals of the mechanical deformation of the Mg particles are a significant issue.

Now, researchers from China and the US, including a colleague from GM R&D, have used in situ transmission electron microscopy to elucidate the size-dependent mechanical properties of Mg nanoparticles used for hydrogen storage. The team tested different sized nanoparticles to gauge their mechanical properties and discovered lessons on how one might engineer the nanoparticles to improve their performance. Their paper is published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

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