Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Metal Salt Catalysts for Enhancing Hydrogen Spillover

Technology #4324

Hydrogen storage for next-generation fuel cells One of the most promising types of renewable energy lies in fuel cells that convert water to hydrogen fuel. As such, the safe and efficient storage of hydrogen has become a hot topic for the next generation of marketable fuel cells. The United States Department of Energy (DoE) has established a target for materials that are capable of storing hydrogen on-board to be at least 3 kW/kg by the year 2015. Researchers have found nanostructured carbon materials to be great potential hydrogen absorbents; however, these are currently still limited by their slow hydrogen uptake and short shelf lives.

Enhanced hydrogen storage capacity in nanocarbon materials

Certain types of catalysts have now been shown to speed up the hydrogen uptake of nanostructured carbon materials. A new type of composite material that consists of a hydrogen-dissociating receptor and a dopant that increases the rate of hydrogen uptake has been found. The material has been shown to enhance hydrogen absorption by a factor of 1.5 to 10, depending on the type of receptor used and the environmental conditions. This means that the material is able to enhance hydrogen adsorption by up to 500% as compared to conventional hydrogen storage materials. Such types of materials could bring fuel cells to the market more rapidly by meeting the DoE targets.

Applications and Advantages

  • Fuel cells

  • Fast hydrogen uptake with nanostructured carbon materials