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Better hydrogen storage process unveiled

Scientists create a chemical switch to catch and release useful gas

By
10:20am, March 19, 2012

The dream of using hydrogen gas as a clean fuel, on a large scale, just got a little bit closer. Chemists have developed a new molecule that can drive chemical reactions to store and release hydrogen under mild temperatures and pressures.

“It’s a step towards getting a hydrogen economy, towards getting to a place where we can realistically look at ways of using hydrogen,” says Jonathan Hull, a research chemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. Hull and his colleagues describe the findings online March 18 in Nature Chemistry.

No harmful emissions are released when hydrogen is burned; only water and energy are produced. But transporting useful quantities of hydrogen gas requires keeping it at very high pressures, a process that takes a lot of energy. For these reasons, scientists are interested in finding safer, easier ways to store hydrogen.

In the new study, Hull’s team created a water-soluble molecule that con

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