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Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

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New Tech Could Make Hydrogen Cars a Commercial Reality

  • Scientists at UNIST created a nanoporous material that stores hydrogen densely at room temperature.
  • This method surpasses traditional high-pressure storage and holds five hydrogen molecules per unit.
  • The breakthrough paves the way for a more practical and efficient hydrogen economy.

An Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) research team has reported a groundbreaking development in efficient hydrogen storage. The groundbreaking development in efficient hydrogen storage has been reported by Professor Hyunchul Oh in the Department of Chemistry at UNIST, in the journal Nature Chemistry so marking a significant advancement in future energy systems.

The innovative research focuses around a nanoporous magnesium borohydride structure (Mg(BH?)?), showcasing the remarkable capability to store hydrogen at high densities even under normal atmospheric pressure.

The structure of magnesium borohydride and its high-density hydrogen adsorption state. Image Credit: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology. For more information and images click the open access paper at Nature Chemistry.

Related: Forgotten Gas Reserves Could Be A Gamechanger For European Energy

The research team, under the leadership of Professor Oh, has successfully tackled the challenge of low hydrogen storage capacity by leveraging advanced high-density adsorption technology.

Through the synthesis of a nanoporous complex hydride comprising magnesium hydride, solid boron hydride (BH4)2, and magnesium cation (Mg+), the material as developed enables the storage of five hydrogen molecules in a three-dimensional arrangement, achieving unprecedented high-density hydrogen storage.

The reported material exhibits an impressive hydrogen storage capacity of 144 g/L per volume of pores, surpassing traditional methods, such as storing hydrogen as a gas in a liquid state (70.8 g/L). Additionally, the density of hydrogen molecules within the material exceeds that of the solid state, highlighting the efficiency of this novel storage approach.

Professor Oh emphasized the significance of this breakthrough, stating, “Our innovative material represents a paradigm shift in the realm of hydrogen storage, offering a compelling alternative to traditional approaches.” This transformative development not only enhances the efficiency and economic viability of hydrogen energy utilization but also addresses critical challenges in large-scale hydrogen storage for public transportation applications.

Related: The No.1 Energy Stock for 2024

This research was made possible through the Mid-Career Research Program by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT).


Its quite a challenge to conceptualize a storage of the universe’s smallest atom and keeping it in place by a mechanical means. But it does look like the Korean team found a way. The prospects look quite good, the report has made it into a Nature journal.

The fact of its economic value isn’t discussed to no surprise, its new right now technology. The costs involved are unknown. But one hopes the production costs won’t stillborn the idea.


There’s going to be more to this over time. The attributes of hydrogen are about as challenging as one could imagine for safety. Mass marketed hydrogen seriously puts knowledgeable folks on edge. If this tech gets dihydrogen gas storage to the same level as say propane (aka LPG) at a price that makes sense then the hydrogen economy might get to be a large niche market.

By Brian Westenhaus via New Energy and Fuel

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  • DoRight Deikins on March 14 2024 said:
    At a glance at the research, it seems to work at std pressure, but even 70 K is pretty cold!

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