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January 16th, 2007

Power pack

For hydrogen to prove itself as a versatile, practical and green fuel for vehicle and domestic use, scientists need to develop an affordable, compact and safe storage system.

One widely researched solid-storage method involves packing the hydrogen molecules into metal hydrides, with magnesium hydrides being a prime candidate. This gives a higher storage and energy density and is cheaper and safer than other methods, such as compressed gas or cryogenic liquid.

Hydrogen storage in metal hydrides occurs through a combination of physical and chemical absorption. Under the right conditions of high pressure and low temperature, the hydrogen binds itself into the nanostructure of the storage material. When heated under lower pressure, the process is reversed, with hydrogen released and the material returning to its original state.


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