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Russian Scientists Have Modeled the Material for Mobile Hydrogen Storage Facilities

13 августа 2020 года
Автор: Science X
Фото: SUSU press-office
Источник: Science X

A possible material for hydrogen storage facilities installed on vehicles was selected by researchers from South Ural State University. The development of compact hydrogen storage facilities will enable the transition to the efficient use of alternative energy in the infrastructure of "smart" megacities. An article about the properties of lithium-doped one-dimensional carbon material, carbine, was published in one of the first quartile journals "Sustainable Energy and Fuels" (Scopus Top 25%).

The course towards environmental friendliness that the modern world is following will inevitably lead to a reduction in the use of hydrocarbon fuels. Even today, alternative energy sources, such as solar or wind are receiving increasing attention from researchers.

One of the tasks that scientists are currently solving is the storage and transportation of energy obtained from alternative sources. Hydrogen can become an efficient and environmentally friendly energy source. For the convenience of its use, compact and secure storage facilities are required in which the substance can be transported. Present technologies (liquefaction and storage under pressure) do not allow creating storage facilities that satisfy all the requirements. Researchers from South Ural State University Professor Valery Beskachko, Ph. D., and post-graduate student Ekaterina Anikina (Department of Physics of nanoscale systems, the Institute of Natural Sciences and Mathematics) are working on the search for material for fundamentally different hydrogen storage facilities – solid-state.

According to SUSU researchers, carbon nanomaterials can become an effective basis for hydrogen storage. They are easy to produce, they are characterized by high thermal and chemical stability, but they themselves do not bind hydrogen very well. The desired results can be achieved if more active sorption centers are added to the surface of porous carbon material, for example, by doping it with lithium. The investigated carbon base, carbine, had already been synthesized, but the question of whether the lithium-decorated carbine had the properties necessary to create efficient hydrogen storage facilities remained open. Computer simulations have shown such a material retains hydrogen well and is able to accumulate it in the necessary quantities.

"The study was conducted using supercomputer resources: Swedish centers SNIC and HPC2N centers and the SUSU supercomputer simulation Laboratory. We used various software, including NanoView, developed by SUSU professor Sergey Sozykin, Ph. D. Computer simulation, which is actively used in modern materials science, allows you to test a vast number of possible materials and choose those that have all the necessary properties. This reduces the resources (including time) that could have been spent on an experimental search for material. The results we obtained for lithium-doped carbine confirm its attractiveness as a material for hydrogen storage, which means that this structure should be obtained experimentally," - Ekaterina Anikina said.

The work done by SUSU researchers is considered as "a conductor for experiments". The computer simulations can point to modern materials with the necessary properties that deserve the attention of experimental scientists.

"The basis of the material is made up of carbine filaments—carbon chains that have a record specific surface area and high strength but can only hold hydrogen at sub-zero temperatures. Lithium atoms, on the contrary, bind well to carbine and at the same time bind hydrogen strongly enough to ensure the resulting complex "carbine-lithium atom-hydrogen molecule" does not disintegrate at room temperatures, that is, at the temperatures of the intended storage operation. As follows, lithium on carbine plays the role of glue for hydrogen molecules, which carbine itself cannot hold", - explained Professor Valery Beskachko.

SUSU scientists will continue studying materials that have properties suitable for creating hydrogen storage facilities. Currently, a number of works are being carried out, the results of which will be reflected in scientific articles in the future.

South Ural State University is a participant of the 5-100 Project, which aims to increase the competitiveness of Russian universities among the world's leading research and academic centers.

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