Reversible Hydrogen Storage Materials


Reference #:  00626

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for this technology.

Invention Description:

The subject invention is a unique material designed to provide improved handling and the reversible storage of hydrogen.

Potential Applications:

One area of application of this invention is as on-board hydrogen storage systems for Fuel Cell vehicles (FCV).

Advantages and Benefits:

·      Can be made quickly and cheaply from readily available chemicals

·      Have very reasonable charging and discharging rates

·       Are safe to handle and non-toxic

·       Only require initial processing via ball milling

·       Cycle without loss of capacity or kinetics

·       Easily meets the system gravimetric capacities of 6 and 9 wt.%, respectively


The inventors recently demonstrated the Physiochemical Pathway Approach with LiAlH4, which can now be rehydrogenated with reasonable rates at ambient temperature and low pressures of 3 to 60 bar. They also applied the Physiochemical Pathway Approach successfully to NaAlH4, and to the new class of Li, Al and/or B complex hydride materials that so far exhibit a reversible hydrogen storage capacity of 3 to 13 wt% (material basis), reasonable charge and discharge rates, discharge temperatures in the 180 to 350oC range (possibly lower), and charge conditions of less than 150oC and 100 bar (possibly lower). Finally, the inventors applied the Thermal Hydrogenation Approach successfully to the new class of Li, Al and/or B complex hydride materials that so far exhibit a reversible hydrogen storage capacity in the 6 to 9 wt% range, with a higher wt% theoretically possible and expected, reasonable discharge and charge rates in the 300 to 400oC range(possibly lower), and reasonable charge pressures of around 100 bar (possibly lower).

Problems Solved:

The first limitation of current technologies is their inability to effectively store Hydrogen in attempts to meet the increasing energy demands of nations. Hydrogen storage materials have been too heavy and too expensive. To solve this problem, new materials, such as those provided in this invention, which are lighter and more efficient, are needed. This system also provides off-board refilling with an easily exchangeable canister, thus avoiding the thermal management challenge during charging. These novel materials also only release hydrogen at temperatures above certain levels to avoid uncontrollably releasing hydrogen during dormant heating, which occurs with current technology.

Technical Description:

This invention is based on complex hydrides of Li, Al and/or B and various catalysts and dopants. The reversibility of this new class of materials (part of the subject invention) has been fostered in two ways: first, through the use of a novel Physiochemical Pathway Approach and second, through the use of a simple Thermal Hydrogenation Approach. These new approaches are part of the subject invention and utilize either a liquid complexing agent or high temperature, in conjunction with one or more catalysts, and a hydrogen atmosphere to foster reversibility in novel Li, Al and/or B complex hydrides.


Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Reversible Hydrogen Storage Materials Utility United States 11/940,651 8,153,554 11/15/2007 4/10/2012 2/8/2031 Issued
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
James Ritter
Tao Wang
Armin Ebner
Charles Holland
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