Development of Heterogeneous Metallic Nanoparticles as Robust, Light-Weight Hydrogen Storage Materials

A significant challenge for the widespread use of hydrogen as a practical alternative to fossil fuel is the successful development of safe and efficient storage materials for H2. One of the promising candidates, light metal hydride MgH2, suffers from the slow kinetics and high temperatures required for H2 absorption/desorption. To overcome these issues of light metal hydrides, we propose to synthesize and evaluate heterogeneous metallic nanoparticles, i.e. magnesium plus transition metals (e.g. iron), motivated by the facts (i) a significant decrease in the kinetic barrier for reversible H2-adsorption for particle or “grain” sizes below 50 nm and (ii) such energy barrier also decreases by “doping” with a hydride-forming metal Fe. Success of this research will provide more efficient and less expensive hydrogen storage materials than those currently available and lead to further improvements in hydrogen storage material design.

Mentor: Javier Vela, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Iowa State University