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Title: New Carbon-Based Porous Materials with Increased Heats of Adsorption for Hydrogen Storage

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a promising alternative to internal combustion engines that burn gasoline. A significant challenge in developing fuel cell vehicles is to store enough hydrogen on-board to allow the same driving range as current vehicles. One option for storing hydrogen on vehicles is to use tanks filled with porous materials that act as “sponges” to take up large quantities of hydrogen without the need for extremely high pressures. The materials must meet many requirements to make this possible. This project aimed to develop two related classes of porous materials to meet these requirements. All materials were synthesized from molecular constituents in a building-block approach, which allows for the creation of an incredibly wide variety of materials in a tailorable fashion. The materials have extremely high surface areas, to provide many locations for hydrogen to adsorb. In addition, they were designed to contain cations that create large electric fields to bind hydrogen strongly but not too strongly. Molecular modeling played a key role as a guide to experiment throughout the project. A major accomplishment of the project was the development of a material with record hydrogen uptake at cryogenic temperatures. Although the ultimate goal was materials that adsorbmore » large quantities of hydrogen at room temperature, this achievement at cryogenic temperatures is an important step in the right direction. In addition, there is significant interest in applications at these temperatures. The hydrogen uptake, measured independently at NREL was 8.0 wt %. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the highest validated excess hydrogen uptake reported to date at 77 K. This material was originally sketched on paper based on a hypothesis that extended framework struts would yield materials with excellent hydrogen storage properties. However, before starting the synthesis, we used molecular modeling to assess the performance of the material for hydrogen uptake. Only after modeling suggested record-breaking hydrogen uptake at 77 K did we proceed to synthesize, characterize, and test the material, ultimately yielding experimental results that agreed closely with predictions that were made before the material was synthesized. We also synthesized, characterized, and computationally simulated the behavior of two new materials displaying the highest experimental Brunauer$-$Emmett$-$Teller (BET) surface areas of any porous materials reported to date (~7000 m2/g). Key to evacuating the initially solvent-filled materials without pore collapse, and thereby accessing the ultrahigh areas, was the use of a supercritical CO2 activation technique developed by our team. In our efforts to increase the hydrogen binding energy, we developed the first examples of “zwitterionic” metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The two structures feature zwitterionic characteristics arising from N-heterocyclic azolium groups in the linkers and negatively charged Zn2(CO2)5 nodes. These groups interact strongly with the H2 quadrupole. High initial isosteric heats of adsorption for hydrogen were measured at low H2 loading. Simulations were used to determine the H2 binding sites, and results were compared with inelastic neutron scattering. In addition to MOFs, the project produced a variety of related materials known as porous organic frameworks (POFs), including robust catechol-functionalized POFs with tunable porosities and degrees of functionalization. Post-synthesis metalation was readily carried out with a wide range of metal precursors (CuII, MgII, and MnII salts and complexes), resulting in metalated POFs with enhanced heats of hydrogen adsorption compared to the starting nonmetalated materials. Isosteric heats of adsorption as high as 9.6 kJ/mol were observed, compared to typical values around 5 kJ/mol in unfunctionalized MOFs and POFs. Modeling played an important role throughout the project. For example, we used molecular simulations to determine that the optimal isosteric heat of adsorption (Qst) for maximum hydrogen delivery using MOFs is approximately 20 kJ/mol. If the heat of adsorption is too low, little hydrogen is adsorbed. If the heat of adsorption is too high, it is difficult to recover the hydrogen at the desorption pressure. The results supported the major premise of this project that increasing Qst for MOFs with large surface areas is required to attain current hydrogen storage targets in terms of deliverable capacity.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Program (EE-2H)
Contributing Orgs:
Northwestern University
Country of Publication:
United States
08 HYDROGEN Hydrogen storage; porous materials; metal-organic frameworks