The benefits of a hydrogen based economy are well documented, since hydrogen is an abundant zero emission fuel, and possesses a higher energy density than conventional fossil fuels (e.g. petrol). However, safe hydrogen storage, either long or short term, faces several challenges. Chemical storage is the prevailing method for long term storage due to the high storage density but the synthesis process needs further development to make it commercially attractive. Pressurised gaseous storage is the most attractive in practical terms but compression up to 700bar is needed to achieve practical volumetric storage capacities for transport applications, which requires expensive pressure vessels and is inherently dangerous. However, new approaches using ultra porous materials have demonstrated the feasibility of high storage densities of gaseous hydrogen at pressure of 100bar.
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
- Provide commercially attractive and safe new technologies for long-term storage and transport of hydrogen;
- Enable efficient and safe hydrogen short term storage for example for fuel tanks for automobiles, rail vehicles, ships, airplanes, or stationary storage, etc., eliminating pollution caused by fossil fuels and facilitating the greening of transport;
- Elimination of economic dependence for EU’s energy needs;
- Ability for distributed production, providing opportunities for new business ventures and the development of new centres for economic growth in both rural and urban areas that currently find it difficult to attract investment in the current centralised energy system.
Research proposals should address at least one of the following:
- Development of new environmentally friendly catalysts for ammonia synthesis at low pressures for long term hydrogen storage and distribution;
- Development of new ultra porous materials for hydrogen storage with a gravimetric storage capacity in excess of 6 wt% and a volumetric storage capacity in excess of 40g/lt. The use of machine learning techniques to assess combinations and substitutions in various porous materials to help optimise the development process should also be considered; the development of suitable pressure vessel designs and materials for the containment of the adsorbent ultra-porous materials should also be addressed.