Hydrogen Storage in Pure and Boron-Substituted Nanoporous Carbons—Numerical and Experimental Perspective


Nanoporous carbons remain the most promising candidates for effective hydrogen storage by physisorption in currently foreseen hydrogen-based scenarios of the world’s energy future. An optimal sorbent meeting the current technological requirement has not been developed yet. Here we first review the storage limitations of currently available nanoporous carbons, then we discuss possible ways to improve their storage performance. We focus on two fundamental parameters determining the storage (the surface accessible for adsorption and hydrogen adsorption energy). We define numerically the values nanoporous carbons have to show to satisfy mobile application requirements at pressures lower than 120 bar. Possible necessary modifications of the topology and chemical compositions of carbon nanostructures are proposed and discussed. We indicate that pore wall fragmentation (nano-size graphene scaffolds) is a partial solution only, and chemical modifications of the carbon pore walls are required. The positive effects (and their limits) of the carbon substitutions by B and Be atoms are described. The experimental ‘proof of concept’ of the proposed strategies is also presented. We show that boron substituted nanoporous carbons prepared by a simple arc-discharge technique show a hydrogen adsorption energy twice as high as their pure carbon analogs. These preliminary results justify the continuation of the joint experimental and numerical research effort in this field.

Funding source: This work was partially supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR), grant no. ANR-14-CE05-0 0 09 HYSTOR.
Countries: France ; Poland ; United States

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