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Nano-NaBH4 as a versatile solution for hydrogen storage

nano nabh4 acsnano2012A team of Australian researchers from The University of New South Wales have reported the successful synthesis of NaBH4 nanoparticles with 30 nm average diameter. The particles were produced by solvent precipitation, which can be repeated at any chemical lab without any sophisticate equipment. Scientists used the particles as templates for the further growth of a nickel shell, receiving a NaBH4 (core) - Ni (shell) nanostructures. This new material shows excellent potential for the use in hydrogen storage having 5% storage capacity and desorption temperature of as low as 350 °C.


"...with this coreshell strategy successfully in place, the release of hydrogen began from only 50 C with significant desorption from 350 C, and more remarkably, NaBH4 became fully reversible for the first time with hydrogen desorption/absorption occurring under relatively mild conditions of pressure (4 MPa) and temperature (350 C). Furthermore, problems of sodium evaporation encountered in previous studies were inhibited by this strategy. The storage capacity of NaBH4@Ni was found to be of 5 mass % (corresponding to full desorption of the NaBH4 present), and hydrogen kinetics were very fast as 4 mass % of hydrogen could be loaded/ unloaded during 5 cycles in less than 60 min. Various hypotheses have been discussed to explain such remarkable improvements in kinetics and thermodynamics. These may be due to the combination of several factors including (a) small particle size effects, (b) formation of an unstable nickel borohydride shell and/or Ni destabilization, and (c) modification of reaction paths. In comparison to current nanoconfiment approaches using porous carbon or inorganic materials, our coreshell strategy provided a platform for maximizing the hydrogen storage capacity as the shell can also store hydrogen and for additional modification of the properties of NaBH4 since an appropriate metallic coating would provide a means for a “localized” adjustment of the properties of NaBH4. The new materials that could be generated by this exciting strategy could provide practical solutions to meet many of the targets set forward by the U.S. Department of Energy." write the authors in their publication in ACS nano.

Image reproduced with permission of ACS