The Florida Solar Energy Center Logo
Home > Research > Hydrogen > Information/Resources > Funded R&D > NASA

Funded R&D

Industry & Other Organizations

FSEC research programs supported by industry or other organizations are as follows:

High Throughput Combinatorial Screening of Novel Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) for High Capacity Hydrogen Storage

FSEC in a joint program with the University of South Florida has been awarded a project to develop a novel high throughput combinatorial material screening process from to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).  The proposed technique is applicable to a wide range of hydrogen adsorbing compounds and allows for the combing of rational materials synthesis, rapid screening along with fundamental studies to identify high capacity hydrogen storage materials with fast sorption and desorption kinetics. The aim of the project is to:

  1. Develop (i.e. design, fabricate, test and verify) a high throughput screening process and technique, based on the use of FSEC-developed chemochromic hydrogen sensing materials, applicable to a broad range of adsorbents, including metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), metal hydrides (doped and undoped), alanates, alanes, and others, aimed at increasing hydrogen adsorption energies above 5 kJ/mol of material.
  2. Deliver the rapid screening process documentation to demonstrate the ability to reproducibly screen up to 100 solid state material adsorbents per run, employing a special chemochromic hydrogen sensing membrane developed at UCF-Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC).
  3. Measure hydrogen uptake for up to 100 solid adsorbents, simultaneously, at temperatures from 77 K up to at least 150o C and pressures from 10 torr to up to 50 atmospheres.
  4. Synthesize viable porous MOFs for H2 storage at ambient conditions and use the FSEC-developed high throughput combinatorial material screening apparatus to systematically assess their performance by measuring hydrogen release from fully loaded H2 absorbing compounds.
  5. Develop a better understanding of the role of organic and inorganic constituents of the sorbent MOF on the extent of hydrogen uptake by means of rapid screening and characterization as well as computational studies to interpret the data and predict novel materials in an iterative process leading to a made-to-order low cost MOF fit for high-capacity hydrogen storage.
  6. Synthesize and screen nano-porous MOFs with combined chemisorption and physisorption characteristics by means of fine-tuning of the process conditions.

The project will simultaneously address the relevant aspects of the design and synthesis and is organized to first address the design, fabrication and testing methodology for the FSEC-developed rapid screening system, followed by the synthetic strategies and computational studies of a series of prospective MOFs and ZMOFs. A major theme of the proposal is the close interaction between the team members at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (high throughput combinatorial material screening team) and USF (materials design and synthesis team) geared toward identification of superior hydrogen storage MOFs.

Development of Ammonia Borane Based Hydrogen Generation System

The overall objective of this program is to develop and demonstrate a hydrogen generation system based on the use of ammonia borane as the hydrogen storage material. The development work was performed with active collaboration with Protonex Technology Corporation (PTX).

The Phase I effort demonstrated the concept feasibility in laboratory reactor experiments as well as in a bench-board set-up with a functional fuel cell.  The work involved the following:

  1. Assemble a reactor set-up to run hydrolysis experiments capable of using >10g AB sample in each experimental run.  Validate the set-up in several preliminary test runs.
  2. Carry out at least six complete experiments (using 10g AB samples) to obtain reproducible results in terms of:  (a) rate of H2 generation, (b) Total amount (%) of liberated H2, and (c) purity of H2
  3. Characterize the reaction with respect to temperature, reactant composition, catalyst formulation effect, reactant purity effect, etc.
  4. Assemble a simple bench-board set-up to connect the output H2 from the reactor to a Protonex fuel cell system.  Validate functional operation showing desired level of performance (i.e. generating 430 mL/min 99.99% hydrogen to fuel Protonex P2 30W fuel cell).

The results showed that pyrolytic decomposition of AB complex is a viable approach producing two moles of PEMFC grade hydrogen per mole of AB. The resulting power requirements were about 10% of the electrical energy of the fuel cell output subject to implementation of a well-engineered hydrolytic scrubber using FSEC-developed catalysts. The fact that the levels of gas-phase amine borane impurities in the generator’s output H2 gas are extremely low, the added weight of the scrubbing unit should be minimal and manageable to readily insure system-level generator performance approaching 2 kWh/kg.