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Finding chemical carrier option for hydrogen storage

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Because of its potential to build worldwide renewable energy supply networks, interest in hydrogen is quickly rising.

Physically storing hydrogen, such as compression or liquefaction, is a common technique of hydrogen storage, although it takes more energy to increase storage capacity and expensive distribution infrastructure.

To get around these restrictions, scientists have been working on ways to store hydrogen chemically in liquid carriers such liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) or ammonia. Hydrogen, in particular, may be securely kept in LOHCs at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure before being removed and used.

For LOHCs, a variety of chemical compounds have been proposed. However, there were few comparative research on LOHC performance, resulting in a lack of scientific agreement in the hydrogen community on LOHC and catalyst downselection. KIST scientists have helped to establish a high-throughput benchmarking procedure for the adoption of potential LOHCs and their well-matched catalysts. Dr. Yongmin Kim’s KIST LOHC research team in the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Center developed a semi-automatic LOHC dehydrogenation assessment method (alternatively, hydrogen extraction from LOHC). This method enables us to quickly evaluate dehydrogenation under well-defined and standardized reaction conditions, as well as conduct comparative studies to find the best options for commercializing LOHCs.

Methylcyclohexane (MCH), which has a high technical readiness, is one example of LOHC in the analysis. It has a faster dehydrogenation rate and produces less byproducts. Another interesting possibility is monobenzyltoluene (MBT), which has been mass-produced as a safe molecule that extracts hydrogen quickly. KIST created a biphenyl-based eutectic combination in 2017 that has a 20% greater dehydrogenation rate than existing LOHCs. This biphenyl-based LOHC is suitable for onboard hydrogen storage in hydrogen cars or trains, with a hydrogen storage density of 6.85 wt. percent -H2.

Both local and foreign research colleagues in business and academia would benefit from the suggested method for rapid screening on LOHCs materials and catalysts. In addition to existing research collaborations with Hyundai Motor Group and Korea Gas Corporation, international collaborative research initiatives with Germany and Japan are being planned to extensively disseminate this generalized benchmarking LOHC study platform in the hydrogen economy. “The as-developed platform will help create new technologies for reduced cost and energy consumption, which are two critical barriers for the commercialization of LOHC,” Dr. Yongmin Kim continued.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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