Recent Advances in the Preparation and utilization of Carbon nanotubes for hydrogen Storage

American Scientific Publishers
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, 2001, 1 (1), pp. 7 - 29
Issue Date:
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Recent progress in the production, purification, and experimental and theoretical investigations of carbon nanotubes for hydrogen storage are reviewed. From the industrial point of view, the chemical vapor deposition process has shown advantages over laser ablation and electric-arc-discharge methods. The ultimate goal in nanotube synthesis should be to gain control over geometrical aspects of nanotubes, such as location and orientation, and the atomic structure of nanotubes, including helicity and diameter. There is currently no effective and simple purification procedure that fulfills all requirements for processing carbon nanotubes. Purification is still the bottleneck for technical applications, especially where large amounts of material are required. Although the alkali-metal-doped carbon nanotubes showed high H2 weight uptake, further investigations indicated that some of this uptake was due to water rather than hydrogen. This discovery indicates a potential source of error in evaluation of the storage capacity of doped carbon nanotubes. Nevertheless, currently available single-wall nanotubes yield a hydrogen uptake value near 4 wt% under moderate pressure and room temperature. A further 50% increase is needed to meet U.S. Department of Energy targets for commercial exploitation. Meeting this target will require combining experimental and theoretical efforts to achieve a full understanding of the adsorption process, so that the uptake can be rationally optimized to commercially attractive levels. Large-scale production and purification of carbon nanotubes and remarkable improvement of H2 storage capacity in carbon nanotubes represent significant technological and theoretical challenges in the years to come.
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