Hydrogen is the ideal fuel because it contains the most energy per gram of any chemical substance and forms water as the only byproduct of consumption. However, storage still remains a formidable challenge because of the thermodynamic and kinetic issues encountered when binding hydrogen to a carrier. In this study, we demonstrate how the principal binding sites in a new class of hydrogen storage materials based on the Kubas interaction can be tuned by variation of the coordination sphere about the metal to dramatically increase the binding enthalpies and performance, while also avoiding the shortcomings of hydrides and physisorpion materials, which have dominated most research to date. This was accomplished through hydrogenation of chromium alkyl hydrazide gels, synthesized from bis(trimethylsilylmethyl) chromium and hydrazine, to form materials with low-coordinate Cr hydride centers as the principal H(2) binding sites, thus exploiting the fact that metal hydrides form stronger Kubas interactions than the corresponding metal alkyls. This led to up to a 6-fold increase in storage capacity at room temperature. The material with the highest capacity has an excess reversible storage of 3.23 wt % at 298 K and 170 bar without saturation, corresponding to 40.8 kg H(2)/m(3), comparable to the 2015 DOE system goal for volumetric density (40 kg/m(3)) at a safe operating pressure. These materials possess linear isotherms and enthalpies that rise on coverage, retain up to 100% of their adsorption capacities on warming from 77 to 298 K, and have no kinetic barrier to adsorption or desorption. In a practical system, these materials would use pressure instead of temperature as a toggle and can thus be used in compressed gas tanks, currently employed in the majority of hydrogen test vehicles, to dramatically increase the amount of hydrogen stored, and therefore range of any vehicle.
- chromium hydrazide