The main research is the synthesis and characterization of new materials for the storage of hydrogen and heat. The focus is on complex aluminum hydride compounds, which are materials with high hydrogen storage capacities. Our aim is the optimization of doped-NaAlH4 systems for fuel cell applications and the development of new materials useable as potential new hydrogen storage materials. A tank system filled with NaAlH4 for a HT-PEM fuel cell application is shown in the picture (developed together with IUTA and ZBT).
Metal hydrides can not only store high amounts of hydrogen, they have also the property to store huge amounts of heat. In this case hydrogen is only a process gas and not consumed during the heat storage or release.
Light weight metal hydrides based on magnesium can be used as heat storage materials at temperatures up to 550°C. Therefore they can store huge amounts of heat for e.g. solar thermal power plants. Over the daytime the high temperature metal hydride is decomposed through solar heat and releases hydrogen. The hydrogen is temporarily stored in a gas tank or in a low temperature metal hydride. During the night the stored heat can be recovered from the reaction of the magnesium metal with hydrogen. Our aim is the optimization and demonstration of heat storage units and materials for this application.