Pressurized hydrogen cylinders take up a lot of volume in a car. They don't leave much room for luggage if you want to drive 300 miles without refueling," says Jeff Long of Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division. "Hopefully that will change, but for now it is difficult to store a lot of hydrogen in a small volume without cooling it or placing it under very high pressure."
Long heads a group of nine Berkeley Lab scientists who are investigating new classes of materials that can efficiently store hydrogen — a very light and volatile gas — aboard cars under less extreme temperatures and pressures. The team is among the recipients of $64 million in DOE funding aimed at making hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and refueling stations available, practical, and affordable for U.S. consumers by 2020.