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Electrochemical Separation, Pumping, and Storage of Hydrogen or Oxygen into Nanocapillaries Via High Pressure MEA Seals

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High-density storage of gases remains a major technological hurdle for many fields. The U.S. Department of Energy DOE, for example, reduced their hydrogen storage targets for automotive applications due to the inability of technologies to reach the system-level targets. Without significant improvements in hydrogen storage density, hydrogen as a transportation fuel remains unfeasible. In other fields, the low volumetric and gravimetric storage densities of oxygen gas cylinders can be cumbersome or prohibitively expensive for applications like terrestrial and marine breathing apparatus or manned space exploration. Emerging technologies, such as sorbents and chemical complexes, show potential for gas storage. However, the ability to achieve application-specific gas delivery rates and high storage densities, while operating reversibly at ambient temperature, remains elusive. In contrast, it may be possible to achieve high gas storage densities and potentially high gas delivery rates using nanocapillaries when used in conjunction with a membrane electrode assembly MEA. Hoop stress calculations show that the pressure tolerances of cylinders are inversely proportional to the radius. Indeed, glass microcapillaries have already theoretically and experimentally demonstrated the capacity to achieve DOE hydrogen storage targets at a materials-level. This technology can be further improved by reducing the capillary radius to the nanoscale however, the capping and pressurization of the gas in micro- or nanocapillaries remains problematic. Presented here is the fabrication of nanocapillary arrays capped by an MEA for highly reversible storage of gases with the potential for high rate pumping and high-density storage. Very high aspect ratio and densely packed nanocapillary arrays are produced through aluminum anodization.

Subject Categories:

  • Electrochemical Energy Storage
  • Miscellaneous Materials
  • Pumps, Filters, Pipes, Tubing, Fittings and Valves

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