A transition to hydrogen as a major fuel in the next 50 years could fundamentally transform the U.S. energy system, according to the National Research Council, and a surprise discovery at New Mexico State University may speed that transformation.
David Johnson was a doctoral candidate in 2007 working on lab experiments for his dissertation in molecular biology at NMSU when he unexpectedly identified a biopolymer that could result in safer hydrogen storage.
Johnson, who now has his doctorate and is working at the NMSU Institute for Energy and Environment, was working on a National Science Foundation-funded grant to find a unique hydrogen-producing microbial community when he noticed some unusual bubbles forming in the reactor.
The bright white bubbles were forming a biopolymer that NMSU biology researcher and professor Geoffrey Smith didn’t recognize.
This biopolymer was also capturing and storing hydrogen as the gas was being produced. With a tight molecular structure that made it impermeable to hydrogen, the biopolymer also demonstrated elastomeric properties that are similar to natural rubber.
Smith screened the polymer against thousands of known compounds, but it wasn’t clear what organisms produced the polymer.
“We then sampled the polymer bubble with a gas-tight syringe and injected samples into a gas chromatograph,” Smith said. “We found hydrogen gas, along with some other gases, in the bubbles.”
Hydrogen, the smallest molecule in the universe, is hard to contain because of its size and corrosive properties. Expensive PVC piping and stainless steel materials are currently being used for hydrogen storage and transport, but hydrogen diffusion erodes metals over time, causing them to become brittle. This leads to structural failures in storage and transporting piping.
The polymer’s properties encouraged Smith to think of potential applications.
In 2009, through NMSU’s Launch proof-of-concept program at Arrowhead Center, Smith connected with Michael Townsand, a master’s biology lab researcher. Townsand reviewed Johnson’s dissertation notes to try and replicate the serendipitous discovery.
Townsand proved that the polymer producer was a yeast, and was able to replicate the biopolymer production after simplifying the production feeding the yeast sugar under specific temperature and pH conditions in a process that came to be termed “biohydrogenesis.”
“The enzymes inside of the cell are the essence of biotechnology,” Smith said, “which is harnessing natural processes that synthesize and export the polymer outside the cell.”
To protect the technology, Smith turned to Arrowhead Center’s Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, and has applied for a patent for the polymer, now known as Hydromer. Arrowhead’s director of intellectual property and technology transfer, Terry Lombard, is working with Smith on commercializing Hydromer as a coating material will allow for low maintenance costs and high durability for hydrogen storage.
“Dr. Smith’s Hydromer technology is expected to provide a safe hydrogen storage method that may overcome some of the existing concerns with hydrogen transport,” Lombard said, “and move the trend and experiments with hydrogen-fueled vehicles quicker to commercialization and the marketplace.”
The Latest on: Hydrogen Storage
via Google News
The Latest on: Hydrogen Storage
- New Analysis from Global Industry Analysts Reveals Steady Growth for Hydrogen Storage, with the Market to Reach $845.4 Million Worldwide by 2026on June 23, 2022 at 5:20 am
A new market study published by Global Industry Analysts Inc., (GIA) the premier market research company, today released its report titled "Hydrogen Storage - Global Market Trajectory & Analytics".
- Hydrogen hypercar rocks 1,000 horsepower, weighs less than 1,000 kgon June 23, 2022 at 2:00 am
UK startup Viritech has launched its gorgeous Pininfarina-penned Apricale hypercar at Goodwood, and dropped some impressive specifications to go with it. This hydrogen-powered monster will break both ...
- Energy giant Equinor's plans for second hydrogen production site in Humber regionon June 22, 2022 at 9:00 pm
Energy company Equinor has submitted a co-funded bid worth over £16 million into government for a second major low carbon hydrogen production facility in the Humber, If given the go-ahead, the ...
- In Breakthrough for Clean Power Generation, Mainspring Announces World's First Generator to Run Both Hydrogen and Ammonia Fuelson June 22, 2022 at 7:10 am
Major advancement for resilient, clean electricityMENLO PARK, Calif., June 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In an important breakthrough towards a ...
- The Potential of Green Hydrogen and Energy Storageon June 22, 2022 at 6:00 am
As calls for sustainability create need for clean, decarbonized energy solutions, green hydrogen adoption is on the rise. With applications as a clean fuel, energy source and more, green ...
- New battery technology offers safe hydrogen storage for industrial applicationson June 21, 2022 at 4:16 pm
LAVO has developed an integrated, scalable battery system, powered by Beckhoff, that employs a metal hydride for the storage of hydrogen-based energy.
- Energy Department Resumes Loan Program with Hydrogen Storageon June 21, 2022 at 10:01 am
The June 8 press release noted that the loan office in April had “announced a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee for Advanced Clean Energy Storage, which will be the first of this kind to a ...
- Carbon fiber hydrogen pressure vessels: HRC and ACTC move up a gearon June 21, 2022 at 2:23 am
The hydrogen energy industry is one of the key strategic emerging industries in China. ACTC seizes strategic opportunities while aiming at developing the international advanced IV-type hydrogen ...
- Mobile nanogrids powered by solar, green hydrogenon June 20, 2022 at 11:15 pm
Climate resilience solutions come prefabricated to generate clean, off-grid power for essential services and emergency response needs.
- Sesame Solar mobile nanogrids powered by solar and green hydrogenon June 20, 2022 at 1:17 pm
Climate resilience solutions come pre-fabricated to generate clean, off-grid power for essential services and emergency response needs.
via Bing News