An experimental study of ammonia borane based hydrogen storage systems

Kedaresh A Deshpande, Purdue University


Hydrogen is a promising fuel for the future, capable of meeting the demands of energy storage and low pollutant emission. Chemical hydrides are potential candidates for chemical hydrogen storage, especially for automobile applications. Ammonia borane (AB) is a chemical hydride being investigated widely for its potential to realize the hydrogen economy. In this work, the yield of hydrogen obtained during neat AB thermolysis was quantified using two reactor systems. First, an oil bath heated glass reactor system was used with AB batches of 0.13 gram (± 0.001 gram). The rates of hydrogen generation were measured. Based on these experimental data, an electrically heated steel reactor system was designed and constructed to handle up to 2 grams of AB per batch. A majority of components were made of stainless-steel. The system consisted of an AB reservoir and feeder, a heated reactor, a gas processing unit and a system control and monitoring unit. An electronic data acquisition system was used to record experimental data. The performance of the steel reactor system was evaluated experimentally through batch reactions of 30 minutes each, for reaction temperatures in the range from 373 K to 430 K. The experimental data showed exothermic decomposition of AB accompanied by rapid generation of hydrogen during the initial period of the reaction. 90% of the hydrogen was generated during the initial 120 seconds after addition of AB to the reactor. At 430 K, the reaction produced 12 wt.% of hydrogen. The heat diffusion in the reactor system and the process of exothermic decomposition of AB were coupled in a two-dimensional model. Neat AB thermolysis was modeled as a global first order reactions based on Arrhenius theory. The values of equation constants were derived from curve fit of experimental data. The pre-exponential constant and the activation energy were estimated to be 4 s-1 (± 0.4 s-1) and 13000 J mol -1 s-1 (± 1050 J mol-1 s -1) respectively. The model was solved in COMSOL Multiphysics. The model was capable of simulating the transient response of the system and captured the observed trends such as the decrease in reactor temperature upon addition of AB and exothermic decomposition.




Pourpoint, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Alternative Energy|Mechanical engineering|Energy

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