GOLDEN, Colo., April 29, 2015 – A PhD candidate in chemical engineering will spend the summer conducting research at the University of Tokyo after being chosen to participate in the National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes.
Sean Lundin, will be working with Professor Shigeo Ted Oyama to develop methods that will make ammonia a more effective material for storing hydrogen.
Hydrogen has many advantages as a fuel: it is clean – producing only water vapor when burned – abundant, and has relatively high energy density. However, it is a highly combustible gas, making it dangerous and expensive to store.
Enter ammonia, a hydrogen-rich compound – three hydrogen atoms to one nitrogen atom per molecule – that is easily produced on an industrial scale. Ammonia is stable and easy to liquefy for storage and transport. The issue then becomes separating the hydrogen for use, as ammonia is not as efficient when burned directly.
Lundin will investigate whether using membranes made of palladium-gold or palladium-silver alloys will be more effective than palladium membranes at purifying hydrogen from streams that contain nitrogen. He will fabricate the membranes at Colorado School at Mines, then test them in Japan under the advisement of Oyama, who has expertise in a specific method of analysis known as the time-lag technique.
Lundin, who is advised by Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Douglas Way, believes he received the award, in part, because he studied Japanese for three years as an undergraduate.
The institutes are co-sponsored by local agencies in seven countries – Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan – and are intended to encourage international partnerships.
“My goal is to gain the necessary skills and potential contacts so that I can continue research collaborations in the future,” Lundin said. “I believe it is a fantastic opportunity for graduate students to get some foreign experience – whatever country they might choose.”
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