Microtechnology-Enhanced Hydrogen Storage for Advanced Fuel Cells

Why is this technology needed?

The application of high efficiency fuel cells frequently requires compact and responsive hydrogen storage. This is particularly true for portable applications such as automotive where the availability of a cost effective, compact and responsive hydrogen storage system is critical to the use of fuel cells in vehicles.

How does this technology address the need?

Hydrogen can be stored using chemical reaction in a range of materials such as metal hydrides, chemical hydrides and adsorption materials. However, the performance of these systems can be adversely affected by diffusion limited processes such as: 1) removing heat during charging; 2) efficiently providing heat during discharge; and 3) discharging hydrogen from liquid chemical hydride via a catalytic reactor.

PNNL and OSU have developed microtechnology-based solutions to these limitations. Examples include:

  • Microchannel heat exchangers and combustors that are smaller, lighter and more efficient that conventional components
  • Compact catalytic microchannel reactors for discharging hydrogen from liquid chemical hydrides and
  • Microchannel-based cooling and hydrogen distribution systems for efficient charging of metal hydride and adsorption systems.
microtech-enhanced-h-storage-for-cells-fig1 microtech-enhanced-h-storage-cells-fig2 microtech-enhanced-h-storage-for-cells-fig3

How is MBI contributing to the solution?

PNNL and OSU are members of the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Storage Engineering Center of Excellence (HSECoE). As part of the HSECoE, OSU’s role is providing microchannel-based technology for metal hydride and adsorption systems while PNNL provides microchannel-based technology for chemical hydrides. The MBI includes special facilities focused on hydrogen research along with a wide range of fabrication capabilities. The new MBI Hydrogen Laboratory has been designed and built to provide a safe and efficient environment for conducting research on hydrogen components particularly components that include aggressive materials such as metal hydrides.


  • Kevin Drost
  • Dale King
  • Goran Jovanovic
  • Brian Paul
  • Vinod Narayanan

For additional information . . .

To learn more on this technology, contact Kevin Drost or Dale King.