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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



When I first read a version of this elsewhere I was not clear initially that this is Kubagen:

As they say on the link, their latest patents cut down processing time and improve stability, so with the backing of HydroQuébec ( net income $2303million 2020) we can be hopeful for this potentially revolutionary cheap onboard storage technology.

Since originally the technology was backed by Fiat, then one also hopes that the mighty Stellantis group retains an interest.


Considering the past history in recent years of the Stellantis group, I'd suggest that this is a conglomeration of losers and eventually they'll lose even more than they have lost already.



Where did you invent that notion from?
Here are the financials for Stellantis for 2020:

Fiat in particular specialise in small, economic cars, and the compulsory upward transfer of wealth via massive subsidies and mandates for luxo-barge BEVs of course hits them and the average motorist hard, but they are coping admirably.

And they are now second in Europe behind VAG for sales of EV vehicles counting BEVs, PHEVs and hybrids.


My sister was a regretful owner of a Fiat 500 back in the early seventies. Most of my free time I spent tinkering around with that piece of junk just to keep it running. That was the first and the last time that she owned a Fiat - as matter of fact - an Italian car.
The "salvation" for Fiat was a merger with one of the biggest dud-MFRCs, Chrysler Corp after Mercedes had managed to dump that "millstone" from their neck. Chrysler was on the search for the next sucker which they found in Fiat. Now three lame ducks, with the latest entry of Peugeot, merged to form Stellantis. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing for either one of those three to be proud of.



So your rationale for writing off a huge conglomerate with 14 brands is that you had a dud car once from one of their brands?

Or rather that your sister did 50 years ago?

Try reading what you write.

William Stockwell

If you are able to store more Hydrogen in a less awkward shaped tank it is another step in my dream of fuel cells being a range extender while keeping all the motor parts in the skate board . Wheel motors or at least corner motors , 20-30Kw of fuel cells, + 5 Kg of Hydrogen + 50Kwh of batteries.


Hub motor in board of the bearing block, use standard disc brakes.


This would be great for electric aviation, eVTOL included. Kubas Maganese Hydride has greater energy density (both volumetric and gravimetric) than liquid hydrogen, which really is not practical for many reasons and safer too.

Roger Pham

Nothing can beat Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) for being the lightest fuel ever, using polyurethane foam for insulation. Kubas method claims 10.5% H2 by weight, while LH2 using foam insulation can claim as much as 80-90% H2 by weight, depending on the size of the tank. The bigger the tank, the lighter the proportion of container and insulation weight to H2 weight.
Aerospace consumes a lot of fuel and require fuel constantly to keep afloat, so LH2 is ideal for aerospace applications.


Boeing is using LH2 for drones.


The bigger the tank, the lighter the proportion of container and insulation weight to H2 weight.
That's true, so long range, 100 passenger aircraft like the Airbus ZeroE, liquid hydrogen would definitely have lower mass.
The Boeing ScanEagle3 UAV Liquid H2 drone has an interesting fuel tank designed by Washington State University’s Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HyPER) Lab that minimizes weight by using 3d printing and probably gets 15% H2 by weight (you can read about the fuel tank here:


Kudos to those who discovered this!

It's great for aviation, heavy duty small trucks, long haul trucks, ...
Most EV's don't need H2, and will not use it until the cost gets competitive in at least 10 or 20 years.

Perhaps EV's can use this H2 tech sooner with a rentable self powered trailer that is controlled via an OBD dongle.



The UK Government puts the extra cost of a BEV at £13,000 to a comparable ICE car, which is more than a cheap ICE costs.

We have heard a lot of talk about cheap batteries, and sure they have dropped in cost, but nowhere near enough, and radically different chemistry is really needed to take the cost down to competitive levels for cheaper cars ex subsidy.

Using KMH-1 which operates at the same pressure as a scuba diving tank would take the cost straight down to competitive with ICE, but with no emissions.

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