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IUPUI-based engineering startup receives $225,000 NSF grant for solid-state H2 storage

A startup based on work conducted at the School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has received a one-year STTR Phase I grant of $225,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support development of a novel solid-state hydrogen storage system based on catalytically-modified porous silicon.

Peter Schubert, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy, founded the startup Green Fortress Engineering Inc. The award includes IUPUI as a subcontractor, and the School of Engineering and Technology will perform the deep technical research.

Schubert said the NSF grant will allow Green Fortress Engineering to achieve two goals:

  • Performing the first gaseous recharge of a solid-state hydrogen storage media, which will serve as validation of the theoretical work leading up to the grant; and

  • Explore the pathway to lower-cost starting materials, including polycrystalline silicon and metallurgical-grade silicon.

Earlier work by Schubert, including a series of patents, used porous silicon as the storage material; strategic placement of catalyst atoms facilitate moderate-temperature and moderate-pressure re-charging of hydrogen. Laboratory tests showed storage up to 6.6% by weight when using porous silicon as a solid-state hydrogen storage media.

Using these less-expensive materials could make solid-state hydrogen storage available to every economic market.

—Peter Schubert

Schubert disclosed the technology to the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. (IURTC), which protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at Indiana University so it can be commercialized by industry. IURTC licensed the technology to Green Fortress Engineering, which was launched in the 2015-16 fiscal year as a member of IURTC’s Spin Up entrepreneurial program.

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