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In Situ Formed Ultrafine Metallic Ni from Nickel (II) Acetylacetonate Precursor to Realize an Exceptional Hydrogen Storage Performance of MgH2–Ni-EG Nanocomposite


It has been well known that doping nano-scale catalysts can significantly improve both the kinetics and reversible hydrogen storage capacity of MgH2. However, so far it is still a challenge to directly synthesize ultrafine catalysts (e.g., < 5 nm), mainly because of the complicated chemical reaction processes. Here, a facile one-step high-energy ball milling process is developed to in situ form ultrafine Ni nanoparticles from the nickel acetylacetonate precursor in the MgH2 matrix. With the combined action of ultrafine metallic Ni and expanded graphite (EG), the formed MgH2–Ni-EG nanocomposite with the optimized doping amounts of Ni and EG can still release 7.03 wt.% H2 within 8.5 min at 300 °C after 10 cycles. At a temperature close to room temperature (50 °C), it can also absorb 2.42 wt.% H2 within 1 h It can be confirmed from the microstructural characterization analysis that the in situ formed ultrafine metallic Ni is transformed into Mg2Ni/Mg2NiH4 in the subsequent hydrogen absorption and desorption cycles. It is calculated that the dehydrogenation activation energy of the MgH2–Ni-EG nanocomposite is also reduced obviously in comparison with the pure MgH2. Our work provides a methodology to significantly improve the hydrogen storage performance of MgH2 by combining the in situ formed and uniformly dispersed ultrafine metallic catalyst from the precursor and EG.

Funding source: The authors would like to acknowledge financial sup- port from the National Basic Research Program of China (2018YFB1502100). XSY acknowledges the support from the PolyU grant (No. G-YW5N).

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