LANL technique backed for hydrogen storage

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By The Staff

The Department of Energy selected Los Alamos National Laboratory for one of 10 projects to develop hydrogen storage technologies.

A DOE announcement Thursday stated that the award was for up to $2.3 million for a “novel concept using an electric field to increase the hydrogen binding energy in hydrogen adsorbents.”

LANL will receive $100,000 to begin the contract, which will run through September 2011, according to an announcement by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. Thursday.

The awards are part of DOE’s National Hydrogen Storage Project, related to hydrogen storage activities for vehicles and focusing primarily on enabling a driving range of greater than 300 miles, within packaging and cost constraints.

The project’s scope includes development of novel hydrogen storage materials, development of efficient methods for regeneration of hydrogen storage materials, and approaches to increase hydrogen binding energies to enable room temperature hydrogen storage.

The LANL contract will involve LANL materials research to meet the department’s on-board storage goals, with the overall objective of achieving a 300-mile driving range for light, hydrogen-fueled cars, without compromising the performance or space needs of the vehicle.

Currently, any substantial amounts of hydrogen must be stored at extremely low temperatures, Domenici’s announcement noted. The LANL research program would investigate ways to enhance hydrogen binding energy at ambient temperatures, which would increase the viability of hydrogen as an on-board fuel.

“Los Alamos has the opportunity to play an important role in the research of alternative vehicle fuels,” Domenici said in the announcement. “I am pleased the Department of Energy is providing these funds t support this research project at LANL.”

Along with LANL, Sandia National Laboratories’ facility in Livermore, California was awarded was awarded up to $2.0 million for development of materials with tunable thermodynamics through the stabilization of nanosized particles.

DOE will negotiate the terms of 10 cost-shared projects currently planned for a total of approximately $18 million, with up to $15.3 million total government share, subject to annual appropriations, and $3 million applicant cost share.

The University of California and five other universities and one company, U.S. Borax, Inc. of Greenwood Village Colo., also received awards.

DOE’s announcement was made by Under Secretary Clarence H. "Bud" Albright, Jr. at the Washington, D.C. stop of the Hydrogen Road Tour, a 13-day cross-country “Hydrogen Road Tour” meant to give Americans an opportunity to see what the future could hold for hydrogen vehicles.

DOE and U.S. Department of Transportation are sponsoring the Hydrogen Road Tour, which travels from Portland, Maine, to Santa Monica, Calif. during Aug. 11-23, 2008.

Demonstration hydrogen vehicles from nine manufacturers will participate in the tour that includes 31 stops in 18 states.