A team of researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has been awarded $1.2 million to study more efficient materials for hydrogen fuel cells. The effort is designed to pave the way for a market-ready hydrogen-powered vehicle that emits only water.
“We have identified interesting materials that in some cases have been totally overlooked in the search for compounds that store gases,” says Don Siegel, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan.
If researchers find the right metal-organic framework to store hydrogen at a high density, it would help to make driving a hydrogen-powered car a similar experience to driving a traditionally powered car. Drivers would be able to visit a station and pump hydrogen into a metal-organic framework-filled tank. When the driver hits the accelerator, hydrogen gas released from the tank will power a fuel cell.
The U-M researchers have been working since 2012 to develop road-ready materials for a hydrogen-powered car. The researchers created a database that combined metal-organic frameworks with organic crystalline materials to find the best possible combination for hydrogen storage. Now, with the $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the team will work to further explore metal-organic frameworks for hydrogen storage systems.
Many automotive companies are working to develop technologies to make cost-efficient, high-performance hydrogen powered vehicles. Automotive companies are in the process of field-testing the vehicles. Hydrogen-powered vehicles include the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell, Honda FCX Clarity, Hyundai ix35 FCEV, and Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell.