ENERGY TRANSITION

ASX battery hopeful improves solid state storage of hydrogen 

AUSTRALIAN Mines is getting closer to a hydrogen storage solution that can be used for light duty vehicles and mining trucks, it said today.

 Australian Mines Sconi

Australian Mines Sconi

 
It has been collaborating with Amrita Centre for Research and Development, based in India. The two announced  collaboration in 2018, when the company was more of a battery mineral hopeful with a share of a mine that held, in addition to other minerals, scandium. 
 
The Queensland Sconi will produce what Australian Mines calls the "world's  most sustainable, Carbon Neutral certified nickel and cobalt". 
 
It said four years ago scandium-magnesium alloys were being considered as a high-performance alternative for the next generation of nickel metal hydride batteries.
 
"Under the research agreement, Australian Mines will retain all intellectual property rights generated through the collaboration, regardless of where and by whom the relevant IP is created," the ASX-listed company said then. 
 
However now it said it is using a solid state hydrogen metal hydride technology, rather than the more typical compression or liquefaction. The latter has never been achieved at scale given hydrogen has a liquid point of -252 degrees, compared with natural gas' -150C. 
 
There was no mention of scandium in today's release but scandium and hydrogen can be combined into scandium-hydride. 
 
Hydrogen can be stored both on or within solids and is seen by the US government as a critical step to a wider hydrogen economy and use in vehicles. 
 
"An independent third-party test found absorption capacities of 4.86 wt% and 5.26 wt% of hydrogen at 300C and 350C, respectively at a pressure of 38 bar," Australian Mines said today. 
 
"Desorption capacities of 4.33 wt% and 5.13 wt% of hydrogen at 300C and 350C respectively. 
 
It has not yet got to the point the US Department of Energy recommends but said the latest results were welcome. Its metal hydride was made using a process that Australian Mines believes can be scaled up; it also noted the hydrogen it used was in its typical gaseous state. 
 
The benchmark for the DOE is a much more ambitious 60C and pressure of just 5-12 bar. 
 
It tested its new tech over four runs at 350C and said on the second, and best, run its tech absorbed 5 wt% of hydrogen in just under 10 minutes and released the same in just 3.7%, which is far more rapid than a competing tech which takes hours to to do the same at far higher temperatures. 
 
"Solid-state hydrogen storage is considered to have the potential to meet the DOE targets." it said. 
 
"One of the most stringent DOE criteria for a hydrogen storage system is a target gravimetric capacity of 5.5 wt% of hydrogen by 2025. 
 
"In addition to the requirement of high gravimetric capacities, a desired system should exhibit a high volumetric capacity, a high rate of (de)hydrogenation at near-ambient temperatures, high reversibility (operational cycle life), high stability, and cost effectiveness."

 

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Energy News Bulletin Intelligence team.

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