One of the toughest problems facing the “Hydrogen Economy” is storing the Hydrogen. Hydrogen is of course quite volatile. We saw with Challenger what happens when you mix Hydrogen and Oxygen.
We’ve come a long way since then, and we’re dealing with slightly different materials and quantities, but the difficulty remains. How do you store Hydrogen in a consumers vehicle safely and so that it’s stable.
One way to stabilise a molecule like Hydrogen is to have it bind to something. Kind of like velcro.
The velcro, in this case, is Carbon Nanotubes and titanium. Scientists can make some sort of wacky molecule (Hey, I can only pretend to know so much! 😉 ) with the Hydrogen and Titanium and having it attach to the amazingly strong, and small, carbon nanotubes.
From the scientific jargon I take the meaning that this results in a highly effectient, or at least more-than-practical storage method for Hydrogen.
The hydrogen-metal bonding is an unusual combination of chemi- and physi-sorption, an essential ingredient needed for reversible hydrogen storage medium near room temperature. Remarkably, this adsorption occurs with no energy barrier.
That means that this absorption… or storage… can happen at room temperature with no added heat or energy needed to make it happen. Cool!
I guess we’ll see in a few years if this takes us a step closer to an alternative to our oil addiction.