Density Functional Theory (DFT) Study of Hydrogen Storage in Porous Silicon

Mawla Boaks, Purdue University


Based on plane wave DFT calculation, we carried out micro level investigation of hydrogen storage in nanoporous silicon (npSi). One quarter of a hexagonal pore with Palladium catalyst placed at the surface has been studied for hydrogen dissociation, spillover, bond hopping, and diffusion for both single catalyst atom and small catalyst cluster consisting of multiple catalyst atoms. All the DFT computations were done in one of the biggest research supercomputer facilities of the world, Big Red II. We opted ABINIT, an open source DFT tool for our computations. Our calculation revealed low dissociation, spillover, and bond hoping energy barrier. The energy required to be provided from external sources to fully recharge the storage medium from a gaseous source at a completely empty state has also been evaluated. Hydrogen diffusion along the inner surface of the pore as a means of bond hopping and the possibility of quantum tunneling, a low temperature phenomena used to spontaneously go over an otherwise less likely high energy barrier have been studied as well. Using these micro level parameter values evaluated from the DFT study, the performance of any potential hydrogen storage material can be compared to a set of characteristics sought in an efficient storage media. Thus, the micro scale feasibility of this novel npSi material based hydrogen storage technology was studied as a part of a STTR Phase I project.




Schubert, Purdue University.

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