Xenon Illuminates New Hydrogen Storage Option

Jan 25, 2010

A xenon-based material synthesized under high pressure may provide insights for a better way to store hydrogen, hope researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, D.C. They found that the normally unreactive noble gas combines at 41,000 atm. with hydrogen to form a stable but previously unknown solid with unusual bonding chemistry.

"This hydrogen-rich solid represents a new pathway to forming novel hydrogen storage compounds and the new pressure-induced chemistry opens the possibility of synthesizing new energetic materials," says Russell Hemley, Geophysical Laboratory director and co-author of a paper on the work in Nature Chemistry.

"Xenon is too heavy and expensive to be practical for use in hydrogen-storage applications," notes lead author Maddury Somayazulu, a research scientist. "But by understanding how it works in this situation, researchers can come up with lighter substitutes."

A video on the development is viewable at www.ciw.edu/publications_online/embedded_video/xenon_hydrogen.html.

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