PhD student at TU / e find method to improve hydrogen storage




PhD Gregory Filonenko of the Technical University of Eindhoven has a catalyst discovered that hydrogen rapidly in formic acid can be converted and back. The invention can be used in hydrogen cars because pure hydrogen itself makes saving difficult.

Hydrogen with carbon dioxide can combine liquid formic acid, and there may also be released again, has been known for some years. So far the reaction has been relatively slow. During the investigation of Filonenko discovered two undergraduate students in Chemical Engineering by chance a new catalyst, a complex of an organic molecule with a ruthenium atom.

With the aid of the catalyst Filonenko fetched after optimizations a ten times higher response speed than the system which was previously the fastest. Moreover, the catalyst of that system was considerably more expensive, and is detected easily reversible reaction by Filonenko. When formic acid is heated to 90 degrees, the hydrogen is released again.

Hydrogen makes itself difficult to save because the substance has a low density. In order to bring a practical amount of hydrogen, it must be stored under high pressure. This means that the tank must be heavier and have additional systems to regulate the pressure. Hydrogen storage for converting into formic acid might be a solution to the problem. However, the storage density needs to still up before the invention can be used practically. For the time being, the researchers therefore also look to other molecules in order to store hydrogen, such as methanol.

Filonenko PhD thesis today at the ‘On the Catalytic Hydrogenation of CO 2 and carboxylic acid esters at TU / e.


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