Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.E.E.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Elias K. Stefanakos, Ph.D.

Keywords

Doping effect, Catalyst, Hydrogen, Absorption, Hydride compressor, Mechanochemical synthesis, Kinetics

Abstract

The demand for efficient and clean fuel alternatives has been increasing in recent years and is expected to become more pronounced in the future. Utilization of hydrogen as a fuel is one of the most promising energy resources due to its easy production, abundance, regeneration and not creation of greenhouse gases during its combustion. Although gaseous hydrogen has a very high energy content per unit weight, its volumetric energy density is rather low. The large scale use of hydrogen as a fuel crucially depends on the development of compact hydrogen storage materials with a high mass content of hydrogen relative to total mass and to volume.Certain metals and alloys are capable of reversibly absorbing large amounts of hydrogen to form metal hydrides. They exhibit the highest volumetric densities of hydrogen and are very promising for hydrogen storage because of their efficiency, cost and safety. Some of the metal hydride families can also be used in hydrogen compressors.The objective of this work is to investigate the synthesis and characterization behavior of intermetallic alloys (ZrMn2, ZrNi) for hydrogen compression and of complex hydrides (Zn(BH4)2 ) for on-board hydrogen storage. An overview of hydrogen as a fuel and its storage means is provided, synthesis and characterization methods of metal hydrides are presented and the effect of mechanical milling and the catalytic doping of metal/complex hydrides are investigated in detail. The hydrogen storage alloys (hydrides) are extensively characterized using various analytical tools such as: XRD, SEM, EDS, TCD, FTIR and GC/MS. The thermal (heat flow and weight loss) and volumetric (storage capacity, kinetics, cycle life, etc) analysis have been carried out via DSC/TGA and high pressure PCT apparatus. Finally conclusions and recommendations for future work are provided to improve the absorption/desorption cycle of hydrogen storage in the compounds under investigation.

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