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Low cost production process for hydrogen storage material (sodium borohydride)

The project will drastically improve an existing sodium borohydride (sbh) production method. Together with additional ip owned by the main participant, the project will enable usage of sbh as hydrogen storage material for automotive and other applications.

The SOBOCON project will provide the emerging hydrogen economy with safe and cost effective material that can be used for automotive hydrogen storage and transportation, as well as for other applications. One of the most promising hydrogen storage methods is known as 'chemical hydrides'. In this method, a material such as NaBH4 (sodium borohydride - SBH) contains chemically bound hydrogen. When hydrogen is needed, the SBH is catalytically reacted with water to produce hydrogen. The other reaction product (sodium metaborate) can be recycled back to sodium borohydride (SBH). Today, only aqueous solutions of sodium borohydride (SBH) are used for hydrogen storage. The additional weight of the water, as well as the current high SBH price (about 22-25 euro/kg), limits its usage for automotive applications. The project will drastically improve the existing SBH production method, based on a high temperature reaction of sodium metaborate and magnesium/magnesium hydride powders under hydrogen atmosphere. The improvements include full recycling of all the process ingredients as well as major cost reductions. In parallel, the project will develop additional applications for the cheaper SBH. The main participant, HYOGEN LTD., issued a patent application for an SBH based automotive fuel, featuring a slurry of encapsulated solid SBH in non-aqueous fluid and an improved automotive hydrogen generator. The low-cost SBH production process, together with the new fuel formulation and the improved hydrogen generator, will open the way for wide scale usage of SBH-based, hydrogen-storing automotive fuel. The project will develop bench-scale prototypes for the proprietary process equipment as well as a process package for a pilot plant for SBH production. The new process will enable the participating companies to build plants for low cost SBH production, to compete successfully in a market dominated by U.S. companies and to provide low-cost SBH-based fuel to the automotive market.
Acronym: 
SOBOCON
Project ID: 
4 157
Start date: 
01-12-2007
Project Duration: 
24months
Project costs: 
860 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Transport and storage of hydrogen
Market Area: 
Gas transmission and distribution

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.