[this post will be revised shorty]
In this post we talk about the US company Plasma Kinetics and their light-activated nano-structured formulation for storing hydrogen.
Plasma Kinetics is the first company to pursue hydrogen in the form of a light-activated nano-structured thin film. Plasma Kinetics’ success is in our unique ability to filter out hydrogen from exhaust gases “like a sponge” with low temperature and pressure – reducing cost. Captured hydrogen is contained indefinitely, and released with light on demand. Plasma Kinetics advancements offer the means for zero-carbon hydrogen, it’s an economical and safe hydrogen transport and infrastructure system. Our technology scales to fit the power demand of any application.
What happens is that the negatively charged material absorbs hydrogen. When light passes through it, the polarity of the bonds changes to positive, and the hydrogen is released. That’s a much better process than compressing hydrogen to 5,000 psi up to 10,000 psi, as today’s fuel cells need. For example, the Toyota Mirai holds 5.5 kg of hydrogen at that pressure.
This material Plasma Kinetics developed can be used as a disc or as a film that is just one-tenth of a thickness of a human hair. At first, the discs helped the company to explain the technology: hydrogen would be released when the laser hit it as a compact disc would “release music” when the laser reader hit it. However, the nano graphite film proved to be a better means to deal with hydrogen storage.
One of the main advantages it presents is mass. The “cassette” with this hydrogen-filled film would offer the same amount of hydrogen a tank with hydrogen pressed at 5,000 psi would without the extra energy for compressing the gas. That would allow the Plasma Kinetics solution to store hydrogen generated by renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power plants.
A 15-pound roll of this film could get an FCEV to drive 20 miles. Trucks get a 370-lb (168-kg) cylinder that offers 570 mi (917 km) of range. Even aircraft companies would be considering using it. The Plasma Kinetics founder said that his company’s solution weighs only one-third of batteries for the same amount of energy.
Plasma Kinetics would now be working on an automated system to get these rolls or cylinders out of cars and replace them with new ones. We can imagine something like the swappable batteries on Nio or even something less complex than that.
The leading edge of this tech is cost. It does not need the expensive carbon fiber tanks in which hydrogen is currently stored. According to Smith, the Plasma Kinetics technology already costs only 20% of what batteries demand
Today’s major sources of Hydrogen gas come from expensive, energy-intensive processes.
Most hydrogen used today derives from separating hydrogen from natural gas and electrolysis which consumes large amounts of energy and requires energy-intensive compression or liquefication to store. The move toward hydrogen is primarily impeded by the lack of cost-effective infrastructure which can efficiently capture and dispense hydrogen gas.
Plasma Kinetics Hydrogen Energy System is the only zero-carbon hydrogen capture, storage, and delivery solution. Our technology is capable of capturing metric tons of hydrogen daily with zero-carbon production. In addition, we need minimal infrastructure and can transport the hydrogen safely worldwide.
We are able to remove green-house-gases from smokestacks, capturing metric tons of pure hydrogen from the stream without needing to use any energy. No pumps, no chemicals, and no energy. We are the only solution that can claim 100% carbon-free absorption, storage, and delivery of hydrogen.
MATERIAL & LIGHT
The nanophotonic material absorbs hydrogen at standard atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature. The material absorbs metric tons of hydrogen in minutes. Hydrogen is released by controlled light at 99.99+% purity.
Plasma Kinetics employs a layered nanophotonic structure with a proprietary shape memory alloy that interacts with light. Individual layers are only angstroms thick, and nanolithography provides surface structures that support the release of hydrogen with light.
- Large volumes of hydrogen produced daily (metric tons): from low-cost distributed sources of hydrogen (wastewater treatment, incineration, flue gas, bio-gasification) captured without energy and without signification infrastructure and without producing carbon dioxide.
- Produces no carbon dioxide which is unlike other processes such as steam reformation of natural gas. Makes solar-to-hydrogen and wind-to-hydrogen greener by integrating electrolysis and removing the requirement to compress or liquefy hydrogen.
- Light weight, no pressure, and non-flammable
See the table below for a structured view of this solution compared to other H2 storage systems.