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L'hydrogen economy it is not just a utopia. Practical applications are possible even if it is still necessary to break down some limits. We have already talked about the importance ofHydrogen as an energy source, today we see some of the possibilities for to store this precious gas.
To allow the dissemination ofhydrogen as a source of energy, some practical problems must be overcome such as:
- the development of an economic method for the hydrogen production. Here the solution is offered by renewable energies and was implemented by car manufacturers such as Honda (read here) which have set up a hydrogen refueling station that uses solar power.
- development of practical systems for to store and distribute the hydrogen.
Storing hydrogen in gaseous or liquid form
The simplest method for storing hydrogen provides for the storage of the element in the form of gas at moderate pressures. This solution, although simple to implement, would be impractical: to store hydrogen in gaseous form, you need to occupy very high volumes, so a hydrogen refueling station would be far too cumbersome!
Another solution could be storing hydrogen in liquid form, however, this would require very high pressures and therefore special equipment that includes cutting-edge and too expensive safety systems.
Storing hydrogen thanks to metals
Different metals or metal alloys reversibly absorb large quantities of hydrogen. So it is possible storing hydrogen with the help of metals and alloys. The crystal lattice that makes up a metal is rich in interstices, thehydrogen in gaseous form, it has the ability to fill these spaces. Palladium, for example, can absorb an amount of idopeno equal to 935 times its volume. L'hydrogen, thus stored, can be released by heating and the adsorption and release process can be repeated several times over time.
Storing hydrogen thanks to carbon nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes absorb 4.2 percent by weight of hydrogen. Of fundamental importance is the fact that thehydrogenstored in this way, it can be released at ambient temperatures and pressures.
L'hydrogen it can also be stored with chemical methods, for example with NaAlH4 where the titanium dioxide releases hydrogen by heating and can be regenerated by adding hydrogen under pressure. The chemical reaction:
2 NaAlH4 (solid) -> 2 NaH + 2 Al (solid) + 3 H2 (thus six gaseous hydrogens are released).
In Iceland it is not strange to note petrol stations Hydrogen. The country has invested heavily inhydrogen and the Automobiles fuel cells are widespread. Iceland exploits its power plants geothermal for the production of hydrogen and ensures refueling for all motorists. In the photo, an Icelandic hydrogen fueling station.
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