LIKAT and Apex created a catalytic device that chemically stores hydrogen and releases it as needed. On this premise, battery-based devices might provide hydrogen at any time, or any place to power fuel cells. Dr. Henrik Junge’s study group reported their findings in NATURE ENERGY, which highlighted the work. “Remarkable activity” of the catalyst and “extraordinary” chemical reactions are mentioned.
This work can help the worldwide drive to replace oil and gas with CO2-neutral operations. Dr. Henrik Junge shows that hydrogen storage is still a challenge despite its acceptance as the energy sector’s future. Hydrogen is explosive in the presence of oxygen and volatile and low-density as a gas, thus major research labs are studying chemical ways to store it.
Formic acid storage
Postdoc Duo Wei at LIKAT in Rostock employed formic acid and its salts to store hydrogen. Rostock chemists described catalytic hydrogen storage in formates using airborne CO2 and L-lysine a year ago. Dr. Junge: “It would be elegant if we could employ hydrogen from the same system.” Current work has accomplished this.
The researchers produced the catalyst, which permits all the essential chemical processes, from a manganese complex, unlike most earlier hydrogenations. Prof. Dr. Matthias Beller, LIKAT’s director, noted other benefits. Carbon dioxide is released when hydrogen is recovered from formates. “Our reaction mechanism stores CO2 permanently.” Researchers attach CO 2 to a naturally occurring amino acid.
Hydrogen is employed instead of electricity in the newly created reaction system. A CO2 battery is filled once with air. The cycle of hydrogenation (H 2 storage) and dehydrogenation (H 2 release) can be repeated numerous times, with additional hydrogen added each time.
The high yields of this procedure – more than 90% for H 2 storage and 80% for H 2 release – underscore a comment that NATURE ENERGY utilizes to assess such significant discoveries. Sheri Lense was amazed by the catalyst’s “amazing activity” and “extraordinarily high total TON” after 10 charging cycles.
A procedure based on this will blossom in the future, especially when the hydrogen to be stored originates from sustainable sources like wind or solar. Henrik Junge: “Such springs are intermittent. The green hydrogen economy needs huge chemical storage capabilities, locally.
Dr. Junge notes that this is fundamental research, but it can help revolutionize the economy and energy sector with climate-neutral operations. Henrik Junge says chemistry is increasingly recognizing carbon dioxide in the environment as a source of basic materials.
LIKAT and APEX will work together to apply their results. Dr. Peter Sponholz, APEX’s R&D chief, is one of the paper’s five authors. APEX is pursuing a patent.