The need to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy technologies is becoming more urgent, and Australia’s trading partners are demanding low-emission energy sources.
Electricity production from renewables can be variable, and any excess electricity must be stored for use on days with less wind or sun. Battery systems are used for storage, but they have limitations.
An alternative is to store energy in the form of hydrogen.
Solving the problem of how to store energy is essential for a future run on renewables.
That’s why promising materials for hydrogen fuel cells and high capacity, long-lived batteries are being explored at the atomic level by the Australian Synchrotron.
Australian Synchrotron scientist Dr Qinfen Gu is investigating a new class of hydrogen storage materials being developed by scientists at the University of Wollongong and their international collaborators.Qinfen is using the powerful X-rays of the synchrotron to observe and analyse the structure of these materials. Continue reading New light on storing energy→
A sponge that filters hot air and captures carbon dioxide
We need better ways of capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power stations and industry. And we won’t be using hydrogen cars until we’ve developed practical ways of carrying enough hydrogen gas in the fuel tank. Deanna D’Alessandro’s understanding of basic chemistry has led her to create new, incredibly absorbent chemicals that could do both these jobs and much more.
It’s all to do with surface area. Working in California and in Sydney she has constructed crystals that are full of minute holes. One teaspoon of the most effective of her chemicals has the surface area of a rugby field. What’s more, the size and shape of the pores can be customised using light. So she believes she can create molecular sponges that will mop up carbon dioxide, hydrogen, or in theory almost any gas – and then release it on cue. Continue reading Mopping up gases→
An Australian researcher is leading an international team of scientists developing a clean source of energy from microalgae. The team have developed one algae that not only makes oil for biodiesel production but also generates hydrogen. Commercial hydrogen production uses fossil fuels and produces carbon dioxide.