Development of On-Board H2 Storage and Recovery System Based on Lithium Borohydride

The transportation infrastructure depends on the continuing discovery, drilling, and refining of crude petroleum. Nearly half of that petroleum presently comes from foreign sources, some of which are oftentimes openly hostile to the US. Domestic reserves are steadily becoming depleted, leaving only low-grade inaccessible deposits to be tapped. Identifying other types and sources of vehicular fuel is necessary. Hydrogen fuel based on the simple molecular gas, H2, derived from natural gas, water electrolysis, or biomass processing, represents a domestic, environmentally "green" fuel that could be produced in sufficient abundance to largely supplant our 14 million barrels of oil per day transportation dependency. Its gravimetric energy density is unmatched at 51,590 Btu/lb; however, because it is a gas under standard conditions, it must be stored on-board in heavy pressurized cylinders. In plain language, it is difficult to carry enough H2 on the vehicle to go very far. One way to enable facile H2 storage is to convert it to the solid state. Lithium borohydride (LiBH4), is a white crystalline solid that reacts spontaneously with water to generate H2 and metaborate:1 LiBH4 + 2 H2O  LiBO2 + 4 H2. The storage density of H2 in LiBH4 is actually 69% greater than cryogenic liquid hydrogen itself! Just one gram of LiBH4 liberates 4.11 liters of hydrogen gas at standard temperature and pressure. One could envision developing an on-board "H2 on demand" delivery system based on this reaction for either a fuel cell or a H2-burning internal combustion engine power train. The challenges are how to control the rate of H2 generation and how to regenerate the borohydride from the metaborate. In both cases, the development of new catalysts to promote the respective processes is key. The principal investigator already has patented 2-4 nonmetallic catalysts that promote H2 generation. The development of membranes and catalysts that would go into an electrochemical conversion scheme for recycling the metaborate would be the main thrust of this effort.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $41103.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    Youngstown State University Center for Transportation and Materials Engineering

    Youngstown State University
    One University Plaza
    Youngstown, OH  United States  44555
  • Principal Investigators:

    Esenwein, Joann

    Linkous, Clovis

  • Start Date: 20130201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20130930
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33746

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01474754
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Youngstown State University Center for Transportation and Materials Engineering
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT06-G0041
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 5 2013 1:01AM