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02-24-2015

Researchers at Clarkson University Aim to Improve Hydrogen Storage Systems

Researchers at Clarkson University have published a paper on a new strategy that could improve the design of hydrogen storage systems.

From left to right, Clarkson Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science Mario Wriedt, chemistry doctoral student Darpan Aulakh and biomolecular student Juby Varghese '15 have published a paper on a new strategy that could improve the design of hydrogen storage systems. The paper appears in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.Clarkson's Functional Materials Design group has published a research paper in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry. In the article, "A New Design Strategy to Access Zwitterionic Metal–Organic Frameworks from Anionic Viologen Derivatives," the researchers describe a new route to rationally design advanced porous materials for hydrogen adsorption -- the adhesion of hydrogen to a surface.

Clarkson Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science Mario Wriedt said while a lot of research has been done on hydrogen fuel cells and how they can be used in vehicles, scientists still face the challenge of how to best store the hydrogen. Current hydrogen storage systems are high pressured, bulky and heavy, and manufacturers don't want to build cars around the tanks.

"What we want is to design an advanced storage material that we can use to store hydrogen at low pressures," Wriedt said. "This would allow us to manufacture light-weight onboard tanks which can adopt any form in the smallest open spaces of vehicles."

Wriedt said to improve hydrogen storage, a material with a high surface area and specific adsorption sites must be used. His team is studying how to use metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) made from metal clusters and organic linkers to form pores which can selectively adsorb hydrogen.

The more surface area with specific adsorption sites, the more storage for hydrogen molecules, Wriedt said. He compared the strategy to painting the interior of a large building: the more levels and walls in the building, the more paint is needed.

The MOF pores can be tailored to any size the researchers want, Wriedt continued. This strategy can be further applied to natural gas storage and capture of carbon dioxide from exhaust gases, and he anticipates more papers will be published in this area of research.

"It's not only applicable, it's fundamental," he said. "We can learn from it, and if we know how it works, we can improve it."

Chemistry doctoral student Darpan Aulakh and biomolecular student Juby Varghese '15 are working with Wriedt on this research.

"Conducting research in Dr. Wriedt's Functional Materials Design and X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory has been a great way to both apply the skills I learned in my classes as a biomolecular science major and contribute to real world applications," Varghese said.

The article is available online at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ic5026813 .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: From left to right, Clarkson Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science Mario Wriedt, chemistry doctoral student Darpan Aulakh and biomolecular student Juby Varghese '15 have published a paper on a new strategy that could improve the design of hydrogen storage systems. The paper appears in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/mwriedt-acs-paper.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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