The DOE has awarded RTI International $1.6 million to develop a hydrogen storage technology that could provide a stable and recyclable hydrogen source for fuel cell-powered vehicles.
The four-year project is to develop synthesis and extraction processes for aminoborane, a nitrogen/boron hydride compound. Aminoborane (H3BNH3) is a stable solid at ambient conditions that, when heated, decomposes and releases 19.6% of its weight as hydrogen.
The RTI researchers will design an on-board fuel system for hydrogen-powered vehicles and develop a cost-effective manufacturing process for recycling the storage material once the hydrogen content is depleted.
Also collaborating on the project are the State Scientific Research Center (GNIIChTEOS, Moscow) of the Russian Federation, which will provide expertise in the synthesis of the basic storage material, and ATK/Thiokol of Utah, which will provide industry support for production processes that could lead to commercial use.
The project is conceived in two phases. In the first phase, RTI will:
Develop chemical process steps to convert boron nitride to aminoborane, using only hydrogen and commodity chemicals such as ammonia and chlorine, on a laboratory scale
Study and optimize the process of hydrogen release by thermal decomposition of aminoborane
Demonstrate feasibility of regenerating aminoborane decomposition product
Design a preliminary on-board hydrogen storage system
Conduct a techno-economic feasibility analysis to provide a go/no go decision for the second phase of the program.