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Angstrom Power Developing Active Nanomaterials for Improved Hydrogen Storage

Angstrom Power Incorporated (North Vancouver, CA) earned U.S. Patent 7,708,815 for a composite hydrogen storage material comprised of active material particles and a binder, wherein the binder immobilizes the active material particles sufficient to maintain relative spatial relationships between the active material particles.
 “Active material particles” refer to material particles capable of storing hydrogen or to material particles that may occlude and desorb hydrogen, such as metal hydrides, for example. The active material may be a metal, metal alloy or metal compound capable of forming a metal hydride when in contact with hydrogen. For example, the active material may be LaNi5, FeTi, a mischmetal, a mixture of metals or an ore, such as MmNi5, wherein Mm refers to a mixture of lanthanides. The active material particles may occlude hydrogen by chemisorption, physisorption or a combination of processes. Active material particles may also include silicas, aluminas, zeolites, graphite, activated carbons, nano-structured carbons, micro-ceramics, nano-ceramics, boron nitride nanotubes, palladium-containing materials or combinations.
According to inventor Joerg Zimmermann, further embodiments relate to a hydrogen storage system comprising a storage vessel, a composite hydrogen storage material disposed in the storage vessel, wherein the composite hydrogen storage material comprises active material particles and a binder, wherein the binder immobilizes the active material particles sufficient to maintain relative spatial relationships between the active material particles and at least one port for communicating with an external device. 
 The composite hydrogen storage material allows for the occlusion and desorption of hydrogen in which the particle bed packing traditionally caused by decrepitation during the hydriding/ dehydriding cycle is reduced or eliminated. The composite hydrogen storage material comprises active material particles and a binder, wherein the binder immobilizes the active material particles sufficient to maintain relative spatial relationships between the active material particles. The composite hydrogen storage material may deform under hydriding, but substantially returns to its original shape and morphology, thus the three-dimensional relationships between the active material particles are essentially unchanged throughout multiple hydriding/dehydriding cycles.

The composite hydrogen storage material also may act as a load bearing member within a storage vessel, effectively increasing the volumetric energy storage of the vessel. By utilizing the composite hydrogen storage material requirements for filtration of loose metal hydride particles in the desorbed hydrogen stream is eliminated and the traditional problems of powder compaction in metal hydride storage vessels are eliminated.

The composite hydrogen storage material is more thermally conductive than traditional metal hydride powders and retains similar absorption/desorption rate and capacity limits. The use of a composite hydrogen storage material for hydrogen storage is safer than traditional metal hydride powders as there is much less risk of storage vessel rupture due to powder compaction. Further, the use of a composite hydrogen storage material for hydrogen storage may allow for better compliance with national and international regulatory laws and procedures regarding the transport of hydrogen and hydrogen storage vessels.