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Scientific Reports contents : May 2016

Metallic glassy Zr70Ni20Pd10 powders for improving the hydrogenation/dehydrogenation behavior of MgH2

M. Sherif El-Eskandarany
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 26936 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep26936 | 25 May 2016
Because of its low density, storage of hydrogen in the gaseous and liquids states possess technical and economic challenges. One practical solution for utilizing hydrogen in vehicles with proton-exchange fuel cells membranes is storing hydrogen in metal hydrides. Magnesium hydride (MgH2) remains the best hydrogen storage material due to its high hydrogen capacity and low cost of production. Due to its high activation energy and poor hydrogen sorption/desorption kinetics at moderate temperatures, the pure form of MgH2 is usually mechanically treated by high-energy ball mills and catalyzed with different types of catalysts. These steps are necessary for destabilizing MgH2 to enhance its kinetics behaviors. In the present work, we used a small mole fractions (5 wt.%) of metallic glassy of Zr70Ni20Pd10 powders as a new enhancement agent to improve its hydrogenation/dehydrogenation behaviors of MgH2. This short-range ordered material led to lower the decomposition temperature of MgH2 and its activation energy by about 121 °C and 51 kJ/mol, respectively. Complete hydrogenation/dehydrogenation processes were successfully achieved to charge/discharge about 6 wt.%H2 at 100 °C/200 °C within 1.18 min/3.8 min, respectively. In addition, this new nanocomposite system shows high performance of achieving continuous 100 hydrogen charging/discharging cycles without degradation.

Scientific Reports contents : June 2016

The hydrogen sulfide metabolite trimethylsulfonium is found in human urine

Bassam LajinKevin A. Francesconi
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 27038 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep27038 | 01 June 2016
Hydrogen sulfide is the third and most recently discovered gaseous signaling molecule following nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, playing important roles both in normal physiological conditions and disease progression. The trimethylsulfonium ion (TMS) can result from successive methylation reactions of hydrogen sulfide. No report exists so far about the presence or quantities of TMS in human urine. We developed a method for determining TMS in urine using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-QQQ), and applied the method to establish the urinary levels of TMS in a group of human volunteers. The measured urinary levels of TMS were in the nanomolar range, which is commensurate with the steady-state tissue concentrations of hydrogen sulfide previously reported in the literature. The developed method can be used in future studies for the quantification of urinary TMS as a potential biomarker for hydrogen sulfide body pools.


Biohydrogen Production from Hydrolysates of Selected Tropical Biomass Wastes with Clostridium Butyricum

Dan JiangZhen FangSiew-xian ChinXiao-fei Tian & Tong-chao Su
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 27205 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep27205 | 02 June 2016
Biohydrogen production has received widespread attention from researchers in industry and academic fields. Response surface methodology (RSM) was applied to evaluate the effects of several key variables in anaerobic fermentation of glucose with Clostridium butyrium, and achieved the highest production rate and yield of hydrogen. Highest H2 yield of 2.02 mol H2/mol-glucose was achieved from 24 h bottle fermentation of glucose at 35 °C, while the composition of medium was (g/L): 15.66 glucose, 6.04 yeast extract, 4 tryptone, 3 K2HPO4, 3 KH2PO4, 0.05 L-cysteine, 0.05 MgSO4·7H2O, 0.1 MnSO4·H2O and 0.3 FeSO4·7H2O, which was very different from that for cell growth. Sugarcane bagasse and Jatropha hulls were selected as typical tropical biomass wastes to produce sugars via a two-step acid hydrolysis for hydrogen production. Under the optimized fermentation conditions, H2yield (mol H2/mol-total reducing sugar) was 2.15 for glucose, 2.06 for bagasse hydrolysate and 1.95 for Jatropha hull hydrolysate in a 3L fermenter for 24 h at 35 °C, with H2 purity of 49.7–64.34%. The results provide useful information and basic data for practical use of tropical plant wastes to produce hydrogen.


NiCo nanoalloy encapsulated in graphene layers for improving hydrogen storage properties of LiAlH4

Chengli Jiao, Lixian SunFen XuShu-Sheng LiuJian ZhangXia Jiang & Lini Yang
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 27429 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep27429 | 07 June 2016
NiCo nanoalloy (4–6 nm) encapsulated in grapheme layers (NiCo@G) has been prepared by thermolysis of a 3D bimetallic complex CoCo[Ni(EDTA)]2·4H2O and successfully employed as a catalyst to improve the dehydrogenation performances of LiAlH4 by solid ball-milling. NiCo@G presents a superior catalytic effect on the dehydrogenation of LiAlH4. For LiAlH4 doped with 1 wt% NiCo@G (LiAlH4-1 wt% NiCo@G), the onset dehydrogenation temperature of LiAlH4 is as low as 43 °C, which is 109 °C lower than that of pristine LiAlH4. 7.3 wt% of hydrogen can be released from LiAlH4-1 wt% NiCo@G at 150 °C within 60 min. The activation energies of LiAlH4dehydrogenation are extremely reduced by 1 wt% NiCo@G doping.


Design of Hydrogen Storage Alloys/Nanoporous Metals Hybrid Electrodes for Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries

M. M. LiC. C. YangC. C. WangZ. WenY. F. ZhuM. ZhaoJ. C. LiW. T. ZhengJ. S. Lian & Q. Jiang
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 27601 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep27601 | 07 June 2016
Nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries have demonstrated key technology advantages for applications in new-energy vehicles, which play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. However, the poor high-rate dischargeability of the negative electrode materials—hydrogen storage alloys (HSAs) limits applications of Ni-MH batteries in high-power fields due to large polarization. Here we design a hybrid electrode by integrating HSAs with a current collector of three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoporous Ni. The electrode shows enhanced high-rate dischargeability with the capacity retention rate reaching 44.6% at a discharge current density of 3000 mA g−1, which is 2.4 times that of bare HSAs (18.8%). Such a unique hybrid architecture not only enhances charge transfer between nanoporous Ni and HSAs, but also facilitates rapid diffusion of hydrogen atoms in HSAs. The developed HSAs/nanoporous metals hybrid structures exhibit great potential to be candidates as electrodes in high-performance Ni-MH batteries towards applications in new-energy vehicles.


Tailoring the Microstructure of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Anode Support by Calcination and Milling of YSZ

Amir Reza HanifiMiguel A. Laguna-BerceroNavjot Kaur SandhuThomas H. Etsell & Partha Sarkar
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 27359 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep27359 | 07 June 2016
In this study, the effects of calcination and milling of 8YSZ (8 mol% yttria stabilized zirconia) used in the nickel-YSZ anode on the performance of anode supported tubular fuel cells were investigated. For this purpose, two different types of cells were prepared based on a Ni-YSZ/YSZ/Nd2NiO4+δ-YSZ configuration. For the anode preparation, a suspension was prepared by mixing NiO and YSZ in a ratio of 65:35 wt% (Ni:YSZ 50:50 vol.%) with 30 vol.% graphite as the pore former. As received Tosoh YSZ or its calcined form (heated at 1500 °C for 3 hours) was used in the anode support as the YSZ source. Electrochemical results showed that optimization of the fuel electrode microstructure is essential for the optimal distribution of gas within the support of the cell, especially under electrolysis operation where the performance for an optimized cell (calcined YSZ) was enhanced by a factor of two. In comparison with a standard cell (containing as received YSZ), at 1.5 V and 800 °C the measured current density was −1380 mA cm−2 and −690 mA cm−2 for the cells containing calcined and as received YSZ, respectively. The present study suggests that the anode porosity for improved cell performance under SOEC is more critical than SOFC mode due to more complex gas diffusion under electrolysis mode where large amount of steam needs to be transfered into the cell.

Nature Energy contents : April 2016

The role of metal–organic frameworks in a carbon-neutral energy cycle

Alexander SchoedelZhe Ji & Omar M. Yaghi
Nature Energy 1, Article number: 16034 (2016) doi:10.1038/nenergy.2016.34 | 04 April 2016
Reducing society's reliance on fossil fuels presents one of the most pressing energy and environmental challenges facing our planet. Hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide, which are some of the smallest and simplest molecules known, may lie at the centre of solving this problem through realization of a carbon-neutral energy cycle. Potentially, this could be achieved through the deployment of hydrogen as the fuel of the long term, methane as a transitional fuel, and carbon dioxide capture and sequestration as the urgent response to ongoing climate change. Here we detail strategies and technologies developed to overcome the difficulties encountered in the capture, storage, delivery and conversion of these gas molecules. In particular, we focus on metal–organic frameworks in which metal oxide ‘hubs’ are linked with organic ‘struts’ to make materials of ultrahigh porosity, which provide a basis for addressing this challenge through materials design on the molecular level.



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