Storing hydrogen fuel in micro-beads

[2011-02-12] energy, environment, scitech
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Quoting the press release (via Engadget): “In some senses hydrogen is the perfect fuel; it has three times more energy than petrol per unit of weight, and when it burns it produces nothing but water. But the only way to pack it into a vehicle is to use very high pressures or very low temperatures, both of which are expensive to do.” Thus, a company called Cella Energy Limited is working on a new way to store hydrogen.
Scientists have developed micro-fibers that are 30 times smaller than human hair. Cloth woven out of those fibers can hold as much hydrogen per weight as current high-pressure tanks. If beads are produced instead of fibers, this material acts like a liquid and can be pumped in a manner similar to current car fuels. One of the challenges in energy production is how to handle the difference in consumption between peak hours and off-peak hours. Hydrogen could play the important role of storing excess energy in off-peak hours to have it available at peak hours. Simplifying hydrogen storage is an important enabling step in this domain.

Heat is needed to extract the hydrogen from the beads. [Source: Cella Energy]