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:: OSEL.CZ :: – Remarkable nano-bones can store hydrogen

Hydrogen is a promising source of energy. However, its use is associated with practical problems, especially with regard to its storage. The solution could be a new nanomaterial, which includes graphene sprinkled with nanoscale bones with an iridium core, a palladium block, and a “delicious” buffered hydrogen shell. Hydrogen stored in this way only needs to be heated up a bit and is available.

Nanobonbony on graphene.  Kredit: DESY, Andreas Stirl.

Nanobonbony on graphene. Kredit: DESY, Andreas Stirl.

Hydrogen today is a very promising energy source for the energy for the foreseeable future. It can power cars, ships, and planes, or produce carbon-friendly steel and concrete if hydrogen production is “green” enough. The problem is hydrogen storage, which is expensive and complex. They must be placed either in pressurized containers up to 700 bar or liquefied, which means cooling to minus 253 °C. Both procedures consume a lot of energy.

Andreas Stirl.  Credit: DESY.

Andreas Stirl. Credit: DESY.

A team of experts, led by Andreas Stirl of Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), has developed an alternative hydrogen storage method. It is based on palladium nanoparticles. It is very small, only 1.2 nanometers in diameter. It has long been known that palladium absorbs hydrogen like a sponge. Until now, it has been difficult to extract hydrogen from palladium again. This is exactly what was helped by the creation of said nanoparticles.

In order for these tiny palladium nanoparticles to be strong enough, Stierle’s team sandwiched them with an iridium core. The resulting nanoparticles were then placed at regular intervals on a popular 2-D graphene substrate. They succeeded in having the individual nanoparticles only 2.5 nanometers apart.

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logos.  Credit: DESY.

logos. Credit: DESY.

The researchers then used the PETRA III X-ray source at DESY to observe what happens when hydrogen nanoparticles meet with hydrogen gas. It turns out that hydrogen envelops the nanoparticles, but practically does not penetrate inside. Nanobone (“magical” Nano-Pralinen) bones were created, which contain palladium-coated iridium, which is still surrounded by a “delicious” layer of hydrogen. The hydrogen stored in this way is easier to release because it has not gone “inside” the palladium. Just warm up the Nano Bonbons a little.

According to Stierle, they continue to work on nanobones. They are now discovering how much hydrogen can be stored in this way and further fine-tuning the composition of the nanobonbon and the shape of the substrate used. Instead of graphene, it might be better to use carbon sponge, for example, which is a material with many pores. Many nano bonbons can be matched with such materials.


German synchrotron December 27, 2021.

ACS Nano 15: 15771-15780.