Hydrogen Storage Mesoporous Form of Silica Entails Low Input, High Output Hydrogen Generation

Mesoporous form of silica for hydrogen storage is the new addition to the quest of an efficient and cheaper method of generating hydrogen.

SEM Image of Mesoporous Silica
Mesoporous Silica Containing Amonia Borane

Mesoporous Silica with nano-size pores

In an earlier report, amonia borane has been found to produce a comparatively large amount of hydrogen using the combination process of hydrolysis and thermolysis, without the use of a catalyst. Now with the integration of mesoporous silica to contain the amonia borane, it provides a process of releasing hydrogen with lesser heat requirement

Amonia Borane Molecules

This study about the silica material was done by an interdisciplinary team from Los Alamos National laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The first experiment was through the use of x-ray powder diffraction on ammonia borane or NH3BH3 confined in mesoporous silica or known as MCM-41 with pockets measuring between 2 and 50 nanometers across. The experiment was done at the XOR/BESSRC 11-ID-B beamline at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. They get a diffraction patterns for ammonia borane at temperature range from 80K to 300K, or about -315 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another method was through the use of "atomic pair distribution
function" to see how the mesoporous materials influence the stored
amonia borane. Scientists found that at 270K (26.33°F) temperature
amonia borane changed from a well-ordered molecular crystal to a
disordered solids.  Compared to the unconfined molecules, amonia
borane did not experience structural change at 225K (54°F) which the former did.

Atomic pair Distribution Function

"Atomic pair distribution function G(r) of Mn3Cu1-xGex(x= 0.15,0.5,0.7) obtained at 300 K main panel) and the rotation of Mn- octahedron expected from G(r) inset"

With the atomic pair distribution analysis, together with the x-ray powder diffraction, both showed results that somehow entail that mesoporous silica is the path towards low input, high output energy Generation with hydrogen. Both experiments also provided hydrogen with less impurities.

Dr. Tom Autrey Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said this, 
"Catalysis is critical to a whole range of different energy 
applications, but catalytic activation of hydrogen without metals, well, that can be a game changer,"

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