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Hydrogen storage


The automobile fleet is contributing significantly to air quality degradation in large cities. The use of hydrogen as a fuel is interesting since combustion delivers a lot of energy without polluting. However, some obstacles, like the efficient storage of this gas, remain before it can be implemented in the transportation industry.

Figure 1: Hydrogen powered car built by BMW

Figure 1: Hydrogen powered car built by BMW

Hydrogen storage solutions

The United States Department of energy (DOE) has fixed two targets for hydrogen storage solutions applied to automotive transportation. The first target requires a ratio of hydrogen weight / tank weight that is superior to 0,065 (6,5% weight). This target limits the weight of the tank. The second target requires a hydrogen volumetric density higher than 62 kg/m in order to limit the volume of the tank.

Four main solutions were proposed to solve this problem:

  • Compression or liquefaction of hydrogen
  • Metal hydrides
  • Chemical tanks
  • Adsorbent materials

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Hydrogen storage – literature

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Reference books

R. Saito, G. Dresselhaus and M. S. Dresselhaus, Physical Properties of carbon nanotubes, Imperial College Press, Londres, 1998

G. Gao, T. Cagin and W. A. Goddard III, Energetics, Structure, Mechanical and Vibrational Properties of Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWNT), Foresight Institute, 1997 (pdf©)

D. Frenkel and B. Smit, Understanding molecular simulation: from algorithms to applications, Academic Press, San Diego, 1996

C. Ngô and H. Ngô, Physique statistique, Masson, Paris, 1995

R. A. Oriani, The physical and metallurgical aspects of hydrogen in metals, Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion, 1993 (pdf)

Nanotube fabrication methods

S. Iijima, Helical microtubules of graphitic carbon, Nature 354 (1991), 56-58 (pdf©)

S. Iijima and T. Ichihashi, Single-shell carbon nanotubes of 1-nm diameter, Nature 363 (1993), 603-605 (pdf©)

A. Thess, R. Lee, P. Nikolaev, H. Dai, P. Petit, J. Robert, C. Xu, Y. H. Lee, S. G. Kim, A. G. Rinzler, D. T. Colbert, G. E. Scuseria, D. Tománek, J. E. Fischer and R. E. Smalley, Crystalline Ropes of Metallic Carbon Nanotubes, Science 273 (1996), 483-487 (pdf©)
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