An international team led by a researcher from the UWB develops material for hydrogen storage

Press Release Achievements Science

In connection with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11), the UWB presents Ludmila Kučerová from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. She leads a team of experts who are to develop a material capable of absorbing hydrogen under the most favorable conditions.
One of six proposals that succeeded in the 8th Joint Call of the European Interest Group for Cooperation with Japan (EIG Concert Japan) on the topic of Sustainable Hydrogen Technology as Affordable and Clean Energy is a project led by Ludmila Kučerová from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of West Bohemia (UWB). Her international team is to focus on developing a material capable of absorbing hydrogen under the most favorable conditions.

The results of the Call by EIG Concert Japan were published last December by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. The three-year grant was awarded to Ludmila Kučerová's team from among 32 competing project proposals. The Pilsen-based researcher is the only representative of the Czech Republic among the grant recipients. She will cooperate with colleagues from partner institutions, which include the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Kyoto University.

The material in which the researchers want to store hydrogen should be a mixture of metallic and composite powders formed by plastic deformation of high-entropy alloys. "A large cold plastic deformation of a metallic or composite material destroys the crystal lattice structure and because the atoms are not in their usual position, there is room in the material where hydrogen atoms can be stored," explains the Pilsen-based scholar. The fact that a certain reduction in size leads to an increase in the ability of metallic and composite materials to absorb hydrogen has already been proved by earlier research. Ludmila Kučerová's former colleague, Zaid Ahmed Mohammed, who worked at UWB as part of the Mobility project and devoted himself to these materials, came up with the idea of utilizing these properties in a project involving hydrogen technologies in connection with high-entropy alloys.

"We want to develop a material which would allow the absorption and release of hydrogen at a reasonable pressure and temperature. Our goal is to achieve maximum hydrogen absorption under the most favorable conditions," Ludmila Kučerová explains the intent of the pre-application research project, in which researchers want to use a high-entropy alloy.

According to Ludmila, over the past few years these alloys have been a hit in material research. Alloys were traditionally made from one major element, e.g., iron, aluminum, titanium, etc., to which small amounts of other elements were added to affect the properties of the resulting alloy. On the other hand, high-entropy alloys include, for example, five elements in identical or similar volume. "There are over fifty metals in the periodic table of elements and if you imagine that you create an alloy made up of five of them, with their ratio not necessarily being equiatomic but allowing for slight adjustments to improve the resulting properties, you get a pretty much unlimited number of alloys that have not yet been explored," the researcher from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering says with excitement.

The material which will be capable of absorbing hydrogen in favorable conditions should also be sufficiently light so that it could be used in both mobile and stationary applications. It would be suitable, for example, for hydrogen storage tanks in means of transport or in houses incorporating hydrogen technologies, for example, producing hydrogen from solar energy. According to Ludmila Kučerová, it could come in the form of powder pressed into tablets.

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Šárka Stará

08. 02. 2022