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A Review of Recent Advances on the Effects of Microstructural Refinement and Nano-Catalytic Additives on the Hydrogen Storage Properties of Metal and Complex Hydrides


The recent advances on the effects of microstructural refinement and various nano-catalytic additives on the hydrogen storage properties of metal and complex hydrides obtained in the last few years in the allied laboratories at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and Military University of Technology (Warsaw, Poland) are critically reviewed in this paper. The research results indicate that microstructural refinement (particle and grain size) induced by ball milling influences quite modestly the hydrogen storage properties of simple metal and complex metal hydrides. On the other hand, the addition of nanometric elemental metals acting as potent catalysts and/or metal halide catalytic precursors brings about profound improvements in the hydrogen absorption/desorption kinetics for simple metal and complex metal hydrides alike. In general, catalytic precursors react with the hydride matrix forming a metal salt and free nanometric or amorphous elemental metals/intermetallics which, in turn, act catalytically. However, these catalysts change only kinetic properties i.e. the hydrogen absorption/desorption rate but they do not change thermodynamics (e.g., enthalpy change of hydrogen sorption reactions). It is shown that a complex metal hydride, LiAlH4, after high energy ball milling with a nanometric Ni metal catalyst and/or MnCl2 catalytic precursor, is able to desorb relatively large quantities of hydrogen at RT, 40 and 80 °C. This kind of behavior is very encouraging for the future development of solid state hydrogen systems.

Funding source: A financial support from the NSERC Hydrogen Canada (H2CAN) Strategic Research Network, NSERC Discovery, NSERC/Vale Inco Inc. Collaborative Research and Development, and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Key Project POIG.01.03.01-14-016/08, is gratefully acknowledged.
Countries: Canada ; Poland

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