Grant Aids Quest to Use Hydrogen for Clean Energy

UT Dallas Researchers Studying Materials to Solve Storage Problems

Nov. 3, 2010

Researchers at UT Dallas and Rutgers University have received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore a key component in making hydrogen a widely used form of clean energy.

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Hydrogen could be a significant part of a clean-energy economy – powering motor vehicles in particular – but storage has been a stumbling block. Scientists are searching for a practical alternative to either compressed gas or chilled liquid hydrogen.

The UT Dallas/Rutgers team is exploring a technology known as a metal organic frameworks.

“Hydrogen is attractive for energy storage because it is abundant in water and is a pollution-free fuel with a clean reaction product: water,” said Dr. Yves Chabal, principal investigator in the project. He is also head of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at UT Dallas and holder of the Texas Instruments Distinguished University Chair in Nanoelectronics.

Because hydrogen has what’s known as a low volume energy density, it’s difficult to store in sufficient quantities at standard temperatures and pressures. Several ways of storing hydrogen in materials have been developed, but the UT Dallas/Rutgers team thinks the microporous material of metal organic frameworks holds the greatest promise.

First developed in 1999, the frameworks are porous lattices of metal ions and organic molecules that researchers are working to tailor in such a way to maximize the amount of hydrogen stored.

The program led by UT Dallas aims to gain detailed information on the interaction of hydrogen molecules in metal organic frameworks. The objective is to develop a fundamental understanding of such interactions, helping enable researchers to then methodically design and produce frameworks that maximize storage capacity.

Researchers hope the work will produce a clearer understanding of the hydrogen-loading limits and stability of the frameworks, leading to the ability to develop new classes of microporous materials for hydrogen storage.


Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Dr.  Yves Chabal

Dr. Yves Chabal is exploring a technology known as metal organic frameworks.

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