Kyushu University researchers have developed a new hydrogen energy carrier material capable storing hydrogen energy efficiently and potentially more cheaply. Each molecule can store one electron from hydrogen at room temperature, store it for up to three months, and can be its own catalyst to extract said electron. Moreover, as the compound is made primarily of nickel, its cost is relatively low.

Flow chart description of the study. Image Credit: Kyushu University/Ogo Lab. Click the press release link for a larger image.

The results have been published in Chemistry — A European Journal.

The press release opens saying “As humanity combats the ongoing climate crisis, one avenue researchers focus on is the transition into alternative sources of energy such as hydrogen.”

For several decades now Kyushu University has been investigating ways to more efficiently use and store hydrogen energy in the effort to realize a carbon neutral society.

Professor Seiji Ogo of Kyushu University’s International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research who led the research team said, “We have been working on developing new materials that can store and transport hydrogen energy. Transporting it in its gaseous state requires significant energy. An alternative way of storing and transporting it would be to ‘split-up’ the hydrogen atoms into its base components, electrons and protons.”

Many candidates have been considered as possible hydrogen energy carriers such as ammonia, formic acid, and metal hydrides.

However, the final energy carrier had not yet been established.

“So, we looked to nature for hints. There are a series of enzymes called hydrogenases that catalyze hydrogen into protons and electrons and can store that energy for later use, even at room temperature. By studying these enzymes our team was able to develop a new compound that does exactly that,” explained Ogo.

Not only was their new compound able to extract and store electrons at room temperature, further investigations showed that it can be its own catalyst to extract said electron, something that had not been possible with previous hydrogen energy carriers.

The team also showed that the energy could be stored for up the three months.

Ogo also highlighted the fact that the compound uses an inexpensive element: nickel.

Until now, similar catalysts have used expensive metals like platinum, rhodium, or iridium.

Now that nickel is a viable option for hydrogen energy storage, it can potentially reduce the cost of future compounds.

The team intends to collaborate with the industrial sector to transfer their new findings into more practical applications.

Ogo concluded, “We would also like to work on improving storage time and efficiency as well as investigate the viability of cheaper metals for such compounds. Hopefully our findings will contribute to the goal of decarbonization so that we can build a greener and environmentally friendly future.”


This sounds like a breakthrough for hydrogen storage. There are a lot of unanswered questions but one does understand the researchers desire to get to publication as quickly as possible.

The tech looks to be quite “clean” as in not tying the whole hydrogen atom into a molecule to keep it under control. While the looking to the nature idea they went right by hundreds of millions of years of hydrogen atoms naturally bound with carbon and nitrogen to make stable molecules and came to a very interesting situation that everyone has overlooked for decades.

Break the atom up and store its parts.

That by itself is a breakthrough. This tech is fresh born and has a very long way to go. But 3 months is way better than starting to leak away instantly.

It almost seems like a miracle! One does wonder if it can be made to work at scale at low cost. It would build confidence of they explained where they put the proton.


Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind