Hydro-Québec to commercialize University of South Wales manganese hydride molecular sieve for H2 storage
Hydro-Québec’s Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage (CETEES) and the University of South Wales (USW) have signed commercial agreements to transfer patented hydrogen storage technology arising from USW research to Hydro-Québec to enable its commercialization. This technology— a manganese hydride molecular sieve (earlier post)—allows for the hydrogen to be absorbed into a material at higher concentrations and densities.
An open-access paper describing the technology was published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science in 2019.
A viable hydrogen economy has thus far been hampered by the lack of an inexpensive and convenient hydrogen storage solution meeting all requirements, especially in the areas of long hauls and delivery infrastructure. Current approaches require high pressure and/or complex heat management systems to achieve acceptable storage densities.
Herein we present a manganese hydride molecular sieve that can be readily synthesized from inexpensive precursors and demonstrates a reversible excess adsorption performance of 10.5 wt% and 197 kgH2 m-3 at 120 bar at ambient temperature with no loss of activity after 54 cycles. Inelastic neutron scattering and computational studies confirm Kubas binding as the principal mechanism.
The thermodynamically neutral adsorption process allows for a simple system without the need for heat management using moderate pressure as a toggle. A storage material with these properties will allow the DOE system targets [6.5 wt% and 50 kgH2 m-3 for 5 kg of hydrogen] for storage and delivery to be achieved, providing a practical alternative to incumbents such as 700 bar systems, which generally provide volumetric storage values of 40 kgH2 m-3 or less, while retaining advantages over batteries such as fill time and energy density. Reasonable estimates for production costs and loss of performance due to system implementation project total energy storage costs roughly 5 times cheaper than those for 700 bar tanks, potentially opening doors for increased adoption of hydrogen as an energy vector.— Morris et al.
The material takes advantage of a chemical process called Kubas binding. This process enables the storage of hydrogen by distancing the hydrogen atoms within a H2 molecule and works at room temperature. This eliminates the need to split, and bind, the bonds between atoms, processes that require high energies and extremes of temperature and need complex equipment to deliver.
This technology has several key advantages over existing hydrogen storage options, namely:
Greater storage capacity
Less weight for the same storage capacity
Increased safety linked to a lower tank pressure
Lower manufacturing costs
Simplified infrastructure need
No need for liquefaction step, generating savings in large-scale transport
The applications for this novel energy storage technology are numerous and include transporting large quantities of hydrogen safely, or being able to have reservoirs of hydrogen-powered vehicles that can hold larger quantities of hydrogen in a smaller space, making hydrogen more viable for a variety of vehicle types while bringing the cost down significantly.
Hydro-Québec will work with the patents developed by USW over the next two years to bring them to the commercialization stage.
In 2020, the Welsh Government and Québec Government signed a declaration of intent which, among other things, is aimed at intensifying Wales and Quebec’s relationship through their joint participation in activities related to the economy, innovation, culture and education sectors.
L. Morris, J. J. Hales, M. L. Trudeau, P. Georgiev, J. P. Embs, J. Eckert, N. Kaltsoyannis and D. M. Antonelli (2019) “A manganese hydride molecular sieve for practical hydrogen storage under ambient conditions”Energy & Environmental Science doi: 10.1039/c8ee02499e