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New Fuel Cell Design Powered by Graphene-wrapped Nanocrystals
Researchers at the Molecular Foundry have partnered with the ALS to develop a new material recipe for a battery-like hydrogen fuel cell.
Significance and Impact
Hydrogen has the potential to be a clean, carbon-free, virtually limitless energy source. This hybrid technology allows for very compact and safe storage of hydrogen, while offering fast fueling times.
- Hydrogen is the lightest and most plentiful element, and combusts with water as the only byproduct.
- Graphene-encapsulated magnesium crystals act as sponges for hydrogen, offering a very compact and safe way to take in and store hydrogen.
- The nanocrystals permit faster fueling and reduce the overall “tank” size in propulsion systems like automobiles and other energy technologies.
- The graphene shields the nanocrystals from oxygen and moisture and contaminants, while tiny, natural holes allow the smaller hydrogen molecules to pass through. This filtering process overcomes common problems degrading the performance of metal hydrides for hydrogen storage.
E. S. Cho, A. M. Ruminski, S. Aloni, Y.-S. Liu, J. Guo & J. J. Urban. Nat Commun. 2016 7:10804.