Discovery of Novel Complex Metal Hydrides for Hydrogen Storage through Molecular Modeling and Combinatorial Methods

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UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company, Ford Motor Company, and Striatus, Inc., collaborated with Professor Craig Jensen of the University of Hawaii and Professor Vidvuds Ozolins of University of California, Los Angeles on a multi-year cost-shared program to discover novel complex metal hydrides for hydrogen storage. This innovative program combined sophisticated molecular modeling with high throughput combinatorial experiments to maximize the probability of identifying commercially relevant, economical hydrogen storage materials with broad application. A set of tools was developed to pursue the medium throughput (MT) and high throughput (HT) combinatorial exploratory investigation of novel complex metal hydrides for hydrogen storage. The ... continued below

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Lesch, David A; Adriaan Sachtler, J.W. J.; Low, John J; Jensen, Craig M; Ozolins, Vidvuds & Siegel, Don February 14, 2011.

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UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company, Ford Motor Company, and Striatus, Inc., collaborated with Professor Craig Jensen of the University of Hawaii and Professor Vidvuds Ozolins of University of California, Los Angeles on a multi-year cost-shared program to discover novel complex metal hydrides for hydrogen storage. This innovative program combined sophisticated molecular modeling with high throughput combinatorial experiments to maximize the probability of identifying commercially relevant, economical hydrogen storage materials with broad application. A set of tools was developed to pursue the medium throughput (MT) and high throughput (HT) combinatorial exploratory investigation of novel complex metal hydrides for hydrogen storage. The assay programs consisted of monitoring hydrogen evolution as a function of temperature. This project also incorporated theoretical methods to help select candidate materials families for testing. The Virtual High Throughput Screening served as a virtual laboratory, calculating structures and their properties. First Principles calculations were applied to various systems to examine hydrogen storage reaction pathways and the associated thermodynamics. The experimental program began with the validation of the MT assay tool with NaAlH4/0.02 mole Ti, the state of the art hydrogen storage system given by decomposition of sodium alanate to sodium hydride, aluminum metal, and hydrogen. Once certified, a combinatorial 21-point study of the NaAlH4 – LiAlH4 –Mg(AlH4)2 phase diagram was investigated with the MT assay. Stability proved to be a problem as many of the materials decomposed during synthesis, altering the expected assay results. This resulted in repeating the entire experiment with a mild milling approach, which only temporarily increased capacity. NaAlH4 was the best performer in both studies and no new mixed alanates were observed, a result consistent with the VHTS. Powder XRD suggested that the reverse reaction, the regeneration of the alanate from alkali hydride, Al and hydrogen, was hampering reversibility. The reverse reaction was then studied for the same phase diagram, starting with LiH, NaH, and MgH2, and Al. The study was extended to phase diagrams including KH and CaH2 as well. The observed hydrogen storage capacity in the Al hexahydrides was less than 4 wt. %, well short of DOE targets. The HT assay came on line and after certification with studies on NaAlH4, was first applied to the LiNH2 - LiBH4 - MgH2 phase diagram. The 60-point study elucidated trends within the system locating an optimum material of 0.6 LiNH2 – 0.3 MgH2 – 0.1 LiBH4 that stored about 4 wt. % H2 reversibly and operated below 220 °C. Also present was the phase Li4(NH2)3BH4, which had been discovered in the LiNH2 -LiBH4 system. This new ternary formulation performed much better than the well-known 2 LiNH2 – MgH2 system by 50 °C in the HT assay. The Li4(NH2)3BH4 is a low melting ionic liquid under our test conditions and facilitates the phase transformations required in the hydrogen storage reaction, which no longer relies on a higher energy solid state reaction pathway. Further study showed that the 0.6 LiNH2 – 0.3 MgH2 – 0.1 LiBH4 formulation was very stable with respect to ammonia and diborane desorption, the observed desorption was from hydrogen. This result could not have been anticipated and was made possible by the efficiency of HT combinatorial methods. Investigation of the analogous LiNH2 – LiBH4 – CaH2 phase diagram revealed new reversible hydrogen storage materials 0.625 LiBH4 + 0.375 CaH2 and 0.375 LiNH2 + 0.25 LiBH4 + 0.375 CaH2 operating at 1 wt. % reversible hydrogen below 175 °C. Powder x-ray diffraction revealed a new structure for the spent materials which had not been previously observed. While the storage capacity was not impressive, an important aspect is that it boron appears to participate in a low temperature reversible reaction. The last major area of study also focused on activating boron-based materials in order to exploit the tremendous gravimetric capacity of LiBH4. A number of LiNH2 – LiBH4 – transition metal (TM) systems were investigated for the following reasons. No additional leads were discovered in this system. Another major project activity was the assembly of a high throughput synthesis system. The automated synthesizer was set up in a glovebox and was capable of handling liquids and powders and carrying out sealed block syntheses up to 250 °C. Unfortunately, the synthesizer could not handle the delivery of the fine powders required fro hydrogen storage applications. Although the powder delivery system was overhauled and redesigned several times, this problem was never remedied.

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9.33 MB

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  • Report No.: DOE/GO/14013-1
  • Grant Number: FC36-04GO14013
  • DOI: 10.2172/1004939 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1004939
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc840212

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  • February 14, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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Lesch, David A; Adriaan Sachtler, J.W. J.; Low, John J; Jensen, Craig M; Ozolins, Vidvuds & Siegel, Don. Discovery of Novel Complex Metal Hydrides for Hydrogen Storage through Molecular Modeling and Combinatorial Methods, report, February 14, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc840212/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.