Low-Pressure Tanks Could Revolutionize Hydrogen Storage in Cars

Hydrogen fuel cells really are the Holy Grail of green automobiles, emitting zero emissions and using the most abundant element in the known universe for fuel. Right now though the problems of cost and feasible storage methods are holding hydrogen back. But a group of scientists may have figured out how to store hydrogen in a 500 PSI tank…one-tenth what is normally needed.

There are two ways to store hydrogen; lower it to below -423 degrees F and store it in liquid form as in the BMW Hydrogen 7, or store it in extremely high-pressure tanks on the magnitude of 5,000-10,000 PSI. Storage is difficult because hydrogen is very active in a gaseous form, requiring high PSI to keep a substantial amount of it stored. And I don’t have to tell you how energy-intensive keeping a fuel tank at -423 degrees would be.

But a group of researchers have discovered a way to make hydrogen “stick” to the tank walls, seriously lowering their activity rate. Using a combination of activated carbon combined with platinum in the storage vessel, the researchers were able to store hydrogen at a much more manageable 500 PSI. Of course this isn’t the first breakthrough in hydrogen storage, though nothing seems to have really caught on yet. If you’d like to really get into the nitty-gritty details, check out the whole study here. Could this be the breakthrough hydronge cars have been waiting for?

Source: Crazy Engineers

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.