In the continuing effort to find cheaper, lighter, safer methods of storing hydrogen for use as a vehicle fuel, researchers from DaimlerChrysler, Ohio University and Inergy are investigating the use of plastic foams. The idea is to store the hydrogen within the pores of a spongelike material. So far they have yet to approach the goals that were set by the 2007 FreedomCAR project which was to achieve a storage density of 0.036 kg H2/liter of storage material volume. The best they have achieved to date is 0.0104 kg/L from one type of foam and only 0.0056 kg/L from the other. The team will continue looking at other materials as well as looking at other characteristics such as thermal loads, potential chemical reactions, permeability and absorption rates, tank refuelability and others. The work continues but they still have a long way to go. If they can make this viable though, it has the potential to drastically reduce cost and weight compared to current solutions like the high pressure tanks in use today.


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