Scientists got one step closer to solving a major problem of hydrogen energy

September 29, 2020

A team of scientists from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) together with their colleagues from Austria, Turkey, Slovakia, Russia (MISIS, MSU), and the UK found a way to hydrogenate thin metallic glass layers at room temperature. This technology can considerably expand the range of cheap, energy-efficient, and high-performance materials and methods that can be used in the field of hydrogen energy. An article about the study was published in the Journal of Power Sources.

The team developed an amorphous nanostructure (FeNi-based metallic glass) that can be used in the field of hydrogen energy to accumulate and store hydrogen, in particular, as a replacement for Li-ion batteries in small-sized systems.

Metallic glass has the potential to replace palladium, an expensive element that is currently used in hydrogen systems. The lack of economically feasible energy storage systems is the main hindrance preventing hydrogen energy from scaling up to the industrial level. With the new development, the team came one step closer to solving this problem.

"Hydrogen is the most common chemical element in the Universe, a source of clean renewable energy that has the potential to replace all types of fuel used today. However, its storage poses a major technological problem. One of the key materials used to store and catalyze hydrogen is palladium. However, it is very expensive and has a low affinity to oxidizing or reducing environments under extreme conditions. These factors prevent hydrogen energy from being used on the industrial level. The problem can be solved with metallic glasses. They are amorphous metals and lack long range atomic order. Compared to crystalline palladium, metallic glasses are much cheaper and more resistant to aggressive environments. Moreover, due to the so-called atomic free volume (i.e. space between atoms), such glasses can 'soak up' hydrogen more effectively than any other materials with crystalline structure," said Yurii Ivanov, an assistant professor of the Department of Computer Systems at the School of Natural Sciences, FEFU.

According to the researcher, metallic glass has enormous potential in the energy industry thanks to its amorphous structure, lack of certain defects that are typical for polycrystalline metals (such as grain boundaries), and high resistance to oxidation and corrosion.

What makes this work unique is the fact that electrochemical methods were used both to hydrogenate metallic glasses and to study their ability to absorb hydrogen. Standard hydrogenation methods (such as gas adsorption) require high temperature and pressure which has a negative effect on the properties of metallic glasses and narrows the range of materials that can be used in the study. Unlike gas adsorption, electrochemical hydrogenation causes hydrogen to react with the surface of an electrode (made of FeNi metallic glass) at room temperature, just like in the case with palladium.

The new method can work as an alternative to the common gas-solid reaction for alloys with low capacity or hydrogen absorption/release speed.

The team also suggested a new concept of 'effective volume' that can be used to analyze the efficiency of hydrogen absorption and release by metallic glasses. To do so, the thickness and composition of the glass-hydrogen reaction area are measured using high-resolution electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

In the future, the team plans to develop and optimize new metallic glass compositions for practical energy applications.

Earlier a team of material scientists from FEFU, Cambridge (UK), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences had developed a method of 'rejuvenation' of 3D metallic glasses that are the most promising for practical use. The glasses had been made more moldable and resistant to above-critical loads. The improved metallic glasses can be used in many fields, from plastic electronics to various sensors and transformer cores, medical implants, and protective coatings of satellites.
-end-


Far Eastern Federal University

Related Hydrogen Articles from Brightsurf:

Solar hydrogen: let's consider the stability of photoelectrodes
As part of an international collaboration, a team at the HZB has examined the corrosion processes of high-quality BiVO4 photoelectrodes using different state-of-the-art characterisation methods.

Hydrogen vehicles might soon become the global norm
Roughly one billion cars and trucks zoom about the world's roadways.

Hydrogen economy with mass production of high-purity hydrogen from ammonia
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has made an announcement about the technology to extract high-purity hydrogen from ammonia and generate electric power in conjunction with a fuel cell developed by a team led by Young Suk Jo and Chang Won Yoon from the Center for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research.

Superconductivity: It's hydrogen's fault
Last summer, it was discovered that there are promising superconductors in a special class of materials, the so-called nickelates.

Hydrogen energy at the root of life
A team of international researchers in Germany, France and Japan is making progress on answering the question of the origin of life.

Hydrogen alarm for remote hydrogen leak detection
Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with the University of Chemistry and Technology of Prague proposed new sensors based on widely available optical fiber to ensure accurate detection of hydrogen molecules in the air.

Preparing for the hydrogen economy
In a world first, University of Sydney researchers have found evidence of how hydrogen causes embrittlement of steels.

Hydrogen boride nanosheets: A promising material for hydrogen carrier
Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology, University of Tsukuba, and colleagues in Japan report a promising hydrogen carrier in the form of hydrogen boride nanosheets.

World's fastest hydrogen sensor could pave the way for clean hydrogen energy
Hydrogen is a clean and renewable energy carrier that can power vehicles, with water as the only emission.

Chemical hydrogen storage system
Hydrogen is a highly attractive, but also highly explosive energy carrier, which requires safe, lightweight and cheap storage as well as transportation systems.

Read More: Hydrogen News and Hydrogen Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.