Scientists from the National Institute of Standard and Technology have developed a new way to store hydrogen through the use of nanotechnology. Hydrogen storage has been an ongoing problem that has kept fuel cells from entering the commercial market en masse. Scientists and alternative energy advocates have been frustrated by the fact that a scant few flaws in fuel cells and hydrogen storage has stunted the adoption of the fuel and have been working at overcoming these issues in earnest. Scientists have new developed what they are calling “iron veins” that could be a final solution to the storage problem.
The so called veins are a series of permeating magnesium grains that are linked together to form a network that is very similar to capillaries found in the body. Coupling magnesium with iron creates a system that can quickly absorbed and redistribute hydrogen fuel, making it an ideal candidate as a fuel tank in hydrogen-powered vehicles. The system is lightweight as well, meaning that it can be used in commercial vehicles.
Nanotechnology is often considered a branch of science that will bear the solution to many of today’s problems. The technology has been advancing quickly and has begun living up to the expectations surrounding it. This new hydrogen storage system may help push commercial acceptance of hydrogen fuel, further solidifying the value of nanotechnology and research into how it can be used to solve problems with alternative energy systems.