Personal Perspectives on Development and Status of Hydrogen Storage for Fuel-Cell-Powered Vehicles

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Robert C. Bowman, Jr., Energy and Transportation Science Division, ORNL
Sustainable Transportation Program Seminar
Building 4500-S, Room A-177
Email: David Wood

Dr. Bowman will discuss the history, current status, and prospects of hydrogen storage for use in fuel cell passenger vehicles. For nearly 50 years fuel cells operating with hydrogen and air have been touted by many as the best technology to provide an environmentally friendly replacement of the internal combustion engine for passenger transportation and other applications. However, one of the most challenging issues involves efficient and cost effective storage of sufficient quantities of the hydrogen (H2) fuel on-board the vehicles. General Motors demonstrated the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 1966, but little further development was done until the early 1990s. Since circa 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has spent more than $2.5 billion on hydrogen and fuel cell R&D projects – mostly for transportation. A significant fraction of this funding was allocated to developing hydrogen storage materials and systems including the formation of four multi-institutional centers-of-excellence focused on discovering and engineering better storage candidates to meet the extremely demanding performance targets set by the DOE and an automobile-energy industries consortium. The various approaches for hydrogen storage will be outlined along with their attributes and limitations. The current status of on-board storage in various types of vehicles will be summarized and future options will be predicted based upon Dr. Bowman's observations and assessments.

About the Speaker:
Bob holds the following degrees in Chemistry: B.S. from Miami University (1967); M.S from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1969); and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (1983). He joined the Mound Laboratory as a Research Chemist II in 1969. He left Mound as a Science Fellow in December 1984. He has subsequently worked at the Aerospace Corporation (El Segundo, CA), Aerojet ElectroSystems (Azusa, CA), and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA). He is currently employed by ORNL to provide technical expertise and advice on the properties and applications of hydrogen storage materials and engineering systems to the DOE Fuel Cell Technology Program Office. Bob has over 300 publications (mostly on metal hydrides and their applications) in journals, conference proceedings, and review articles. He has also been granted three patents on using hydrides for energy storage and electrochemical applications.


We're always happy to get feedback from our users. Please use the Comments form to send us your comments, questions, and observations.