A manganese hydride molecular sieve for practical hydrogen storage under ambient conditions

A viable hydrogen economy has thus far been hampered by the lack of convenient hydrogen storage solutions for long hauls and transportation/delivery infrastructure. Current approaches require high pressure and/or complex heat management systems to achieve acceptable storage densities. Development of hydrogen storage solutions operating at near ambient conditions can mitigate the complexity, cost and safety perception issues currently hindering the hydrogen economy. We have assembled a team of experts in both experimental and computational modelling approaches to synthesise and characterise a porous manganese hydride material, which projects to offer roughly four times the volumetric hydrogen storage capacity of 700 bar incumbents when used in a system at ambient temperature and moderate pressures, without the need for external heat management because of its unique nano-scale heat sinking mechanism. As a result of its highly-promising properties (including its use of the so-called “Kubas” mechanism for binding hydrogen) and the low projected cost of synthesis, we anticipate that our material may significantly lower commercial barriers to adoption of hydrogen fuel cells with respect to existing technologies and large-scale transportation of hydrogen will be facilitated. The properties of our new material also make hydrogen fuel cells an attractive alternative to lithium batteries in some applications, especially those involving long ranges.