This atomistic model shows two of the materials – magnesium tetrahydroborate and lithium imide – that Lawrence Livermore researchers are studying as hydrogen storage systems.
This atomistic model shows two of the materials – magnesium tetrahydroborate and lithium imide – that Lawrence Livermore researchers are studying as hydrogen storage systems.

As part of a tri-lab consortium, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers will develop the tools and understanding necessary for designing new solid-state materials to store hydrogen gas.

Storing hydrogen aboard vehicles is one of the critical enabling technologies for hydrogen-fueled transportation systems that could reduce oil dependency and mitigate the long-term effects of fossil fuels on climate change. Stakeholders developing hydrogen infrastructure, including state governments, automotive manufacturers, station providers and industrial gas suppliers, are currently focused on the high-pressure storage of hydrogen at 700 bar (700 atmospheres of pressure). In large part, this is because no viable solid-phase hydrogen storage material has so far been developed.

Solid-state hydrogen storage materials, including novel sorbents and high-density hydrides, are the focus of this project because of their unique potential to deliver hydrogen at lower pressures and higher on-board densities. For its part, the Lawrence Livermore team, headed by Brandon Wood, is due to receive nearly $1 million per year for three years from the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Livermore team will focus primarily on the theoretical and computational component of the proposal, with additional contributions from the lab's synthetic and characterization expertise.

"There is general agreement that a successful solution would significantly reduce costs and ensure the economic viability of a US hydrogen infrastructure," Wood said. "Researchers have been looking at the storage problem for a long time, but there hasn't been enough focus on tackling some of the really challenging underlying problems, which is what we are tasked to do."

The consortium, called the Hydrogen Materials-Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC), is led by Sandia National Laboratories and includes Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The total project award is $9 million over three years.

The consortium will address the gaps in solid-state hydrogen storage by leveraging recent advances in predictive multiscale modeling, high-resolution in situ characterization and material synthesis. "By focusing on the underlying thermodynamic and kinetic limitations of storage materials, we will generate fundamental understanding that will accelerate the development of all types of advanced storage materials, including sorbents, metal hydrides and liquid carriers," Wood said.

The Lawrence Livermore team, which includes Wood, Tae Wook Heo, Miguel Morales, Stanimir Bonev, Ted Baumann, Jon Lee and Keith Ray, will use its capabilities in world-class supercomputing facilities and petascale materials modeling codes. The team will also take advantage of its expertise in large-scale simulation of hydrides and sorbents using quantum and continuum methods, synthesis of lightweight, tunable porous graphene-derived sorbents, and in situ X-ray spectroscopy.

This story is adapted from material from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.