A team of researchers led by the Berkeley lab and in direct partnership with the Department of Energy’s Office of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies just tested back-up power systems based on porous crystalline materials compounds of metal ions. Known as MOFs (Metal-Organic Frameworks), this emerging hydrogen storage technology could prove very competitive. If it benefits from more research and development.
With the exponential growth of renewable energies, the energy storage makes it possible today to guarantee the reliability of the power supply dedicated to critical infrastructures. As in the case of health establishments, data center and telecommunications. It also reduces the growing uncertainty associated with outages caused by power surges and extreme weather conditions.
From this perspective, hydrogen appears to be an interesting and promising solution for the energy storage. Moreover, researchers are currently developing materials that allow the storage of hydrogen in the long term. The aim is to reduce costs and guarantee a high energy efficiency.
Thus, even if the use of hydrogen as an energy vector remains today at a concept stage, the use of MOFs for the storage of hydrogen for emergency power could accelerate the generalization of new sources. energy, more reliable and much more environmentally friendly. In addition, this emerging technology will provide more operational flexibility and better energy resilience to future decarbonized systems.
MOFs: a hope for storing hydrogen efficiently and at a lower cost
Although hydrogen storage using MOFs (Metal-Organic Frameworks) has not yet been commercialized. The various series of tests carried out and the initiative of many startups highlight the desire to make progress this emerging technology. As Breunig of Berkeley Lab states.
As part of the DOE’s Hydrogen Materials Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC), researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and UC Berkeley had also highlighted the high performance MOFs to store hydrogen and its absorption capacities. This through technical-economic analysis and process modelling.
In detail, as MOFs consist of crystals with large cavities, hydrogen molecules can latch onto them effectively. In addition, the simplicity of their charge/discharge mechanism makes it possible to instantly release the hydrogen stored during the discharge. And this without resorting to chemical reactions. This technology is therefore perfectly suited for backup power applications.
Ultimately, further research and development on MOFs could have a big impact. In particular on the increase in energy resilience.
Better cost control for optimized energy resilience
Thanks to the experimental data provided by Jeffrey Long and the various molecular simulations, the researchers concluded that certain MOF systems could be extremely competitive. Especially in terms of cost compared to pumped hydroelectricity. Or batteries and other systems used for backup power under 10 MW.
MOFs also reduce costs compared to liquid hydrogen storage. This while providing a higher energy density at the system level than the storage of compressed hydrogen.