Department of Physics

Department News

Dr. Matthew Beckner to present on May 2

Apr 27, 2012

SPECIAL PRESENTATION
Speaker: Dr. Matthew Beckner
Date: May 2, 2012 (Wednesday)
Time: 4:00 pm
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Toward a Hydrogen Powered Economy: Challenges and Solutions

Abstract:

In recent years, there has been a great emphasis on replacing fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy for use in vehicles. One potential solution is the use of hydrogen gas as a fuel source to power a fuel cell. Before a change from fossil fuels to hydrogen can occur, there must be significant progress in developing low pressure hydrogen storage systems. To solve this problem, many researchers are investigating new, innovative materials to reduce the internal pressure of the fuel tank while simultaneously storing more gas than compressed hydrogen tanks. Cryogenic hydrogen and materials such as metal hydrides, chemical hydrides, and adsorbants such as carbonaceous materials, Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs), and Covalent Organic Frameworks (COFs) have shown promise. However, none are currently able to fully meet the US Department of Energy's requirements. My research focuses on using activated carbon made from corn cob as a hydrogen storage material. Activated carbons have the potential to be excellent storage systems for hydrogen gas because of their high surface areas, reversible hydrogen storage capabilities, and low production cost. However, limitations on the surface area and hydrogen biding energy restrict their effectiveness as a potential storage material. It has been shown theoretically that boron-doped carbon materials have an increased binding energy compared to undoped carbon. Boron-doped activated carbons were produced using vapor deposition and pyrlosis of a boron containing compound (Decaborane B10H14) followed by high temperature annealing. Room temperature hydrogen adsorption experiments show a 20% increase in the hydrogen adsorption per surface area compared to the undoped material. Experimentally determined adsorption enthalpies showed that the boron-doped activated carbon had an adsorption enthalpy of ~9-10 kJ/mol compared to 6 kJ/mol for the undoped precursor.

About the speaker:
Matthew Beckner graduated from Western Illinois University in May 2007. He has since gone to on the University of Missouri-Columbia to earn his Ph.D. in condensed matter and gas absorptions.

Physics News