How powdered hydrogen could be the energy source of the future

Researchers at Deakin University in Australia have succeeded in storing hydrogen in powder form, making it both easier and safer to transport. The hydrogen can be returned to its gaseous state at any time, by simply heating the powder. This discovery could revolutionize the entire industry and open up new development perspectives for so-called clean energies.
How powdered hydrogen could be the energy source of the future
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This new process is outlined in the journal, Materials Today. And since it involves separating, storing and transporting huge quantities of gas safely and without waste, this technique could be particularly interesting for the hydrogen industry.

The researchers have succeeded in developing an original and novel technique for separating and storing gases. To achieve this, they used boron nitride powder, which has a very high absorption capacity. During the process, this powder is placed in a mill containing small stainless-steel balls. The collision of these balls with the powder and the wall of the chamber then triggers a mechanochemical reaction that gradually leads to the absorption of the gas by the powder. This method does not require harsh chemicals and does not create any by-products.

Once absorbed in this material, the gas can then be transported easily and safely. The powder can then be heated in a vacuum to release the gas in a perfectly unaltered form.

In theory, such a process makes it possible to store hydrogen (or other gases) anywhere, and to use it as and when necessary. For the moment, the success of this method has only been demonstrated in laboratory conditions. The next step will be to validate it with industry in order to develop practical applications.

The current method of storing hydrogen involves using high-pressure tanks or cooling the gas to its liquid form. However, these methods involve relatively dangerous processes and chemicals.