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Scientists from the universities of Alicante, Cambridge and Oxford develop first optimal storage system for methane gas

The work has been published today in prestigious journal Nature Materials



Alicante. 11 December 2017

A team of researchers led by professors David Fairén-Jimenez, of the University of Cambridge (former  UA student), Jin-Chong Tan, of the University of Oxford and Joaquín Silvestre-Albero, of the University of Alicante, have revealed a novel system that allows us to reach optimal levels of methane gas storage. This opens unprecedented possibilities for use as fuel in mobile systems (eg automobiles), taking into account the beneficial effects in terms of CO2 emissions to traditional fuels (coal and oil derivatives).

Through the use of novel synthesis and engineering techniques, this research work has allowed them to  develop metal-organic hybrid materials (known as MOFs) with high density and excellent mechanical properties, capable of achieving optimal storage conditions at room temperature and moderate pressure (65 bar). According to lecturer from the University of Alicante Department of Inorganic Chemistry Joaquín Silvestre “one of the great limitations in the use of methane as a fuel has consisted so far in the development of storage systems capable of holding large quantities of gas in a minimum volume (high v/v values), systems that must be economical and safe for transport”. In 2012, the US Energy Department defined a threshold value for any new 263 v/v storage system, “a very tough value that no material has been able to achieve so far”.

The advantage of this research work lies in the fact that these MOFs "have been prepared in the form of monoliths in a single synthesis stage, with no subsequent forming process being necessary (traditionally associated with a structural deterioration of the adsorbent material),"  Silvestre explained. Also, as explained by the researcher, MOFs materials “were discovered about 20 years ago and are the greatest expression of beauty in the world of coordinated porous polymers due to the enormous versatility they present in terms of synthesis, similar to the famous LEGO bricks”

Because of the high impact of the use of MOF monoliths for methane storage, the research has been published today in the prestigious journal Nature Materials.

In the picture, University of Alicante PhD Joaquín Silvestre-Albero







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