Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Hani El-Kaderi


A supply of clean, carbon neutral and sustainable energy is the most scientific and technical challenge that humanity is facing in the 21st century. Though there is enough fossil fuels available for a few centuries, their use would increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. This would lead to global warming and may pose serious threats such as rising of sea level, change in hydrological cycle, etc. Hence there is a need for an alternative source of fuel that is clean and sustainable. Among the many resources considered as an alternative power source, hydrogen is considered one of the most promising candidates. To use hydrogen commercially, appropriate hydrogen storage system is required. Various options to store hydrogen for onboard use include gaseous form in high-pressure tanks, liquid form in cryogenic conditions, solid form in chemical or metal hydrides, or by physisorption of hydrogen on porous materials. One of the emerging porous materials are metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) which provide several advantages over zeolites and carbon materials because the MOFs can be designed to possess variable pore size, dimensions, and metrics. In general, MOFs adsorb hydrogen through weak interactions such as London dispersion and electrostatic potential which lead to low binding enthalpies in the range of 4 to 10 kJ/mol. As a result, cryogenic conditions are required to store sufficient amounts of hydrogen inside MOFs. Up to date several MOFs have been designed and tested for hydrogen storage at variable temperature and pressure levels. The overall results thus far suggest that the use of MOFs for hydrogen storage without chemical and electronic modifications such as doping with electropositive metals or incorporating low density elements such as boron in the MOFs backbone will not yield practical storage media. Such modifications are required to meet gravimetric and volumetric constraints. With these considerations in mind, we have selected a Cr-based MOF (MIL-101; Cr(F,OH)-(H2O)2O[(O2C)-C6H4-(CO2)]3•nH2O (n ≈ 25)) to investigate the impact of nickel inclusion inside the pores of MIL-101 on its performance in hydrogen storage. MIL-101 has a very high Langmuir surface area (5900 m2/g) and two types of mesoporous cavities (2.7 and 3.4 nm) and exhibits exceptional chemical and thermal stabilities. Without any modifications, MIL-101 can store hydrogen reversibly with adsorption enthalpy of 10 kJ/mol which is the highest ever reported among MOFs. At 298 K and 86 bar, MIL-101 can store only 0.36 wt% of hydrogen. Further improvement of hydrogen storage to 5.5 wt% at 40 bar was achieved only at low temperatures (77.3 K). As reported in the literature, hydrogen storage could be improved by doping metals such as Pt. Doping is known to improve hydrogen storage by spillover mechanism and Kubas interaction. Hence we proposed that doping MIL-101 with a relatively light metal possessing large electron density could improve hydrogen adsorption. Preferential Ni doping of the MIL-101’s large cavities which usually do not contribute to hydrogen uptake is believed to improve hydrogen uptake by increasing the potential surface in those cavities. We have used incipient wetness impregnation method to dope MIL-101 with Ni nanoparticles (NPs) and investigated their effect on hydrogen uptake at 77.3 K and 298 K, at 1 bar. In addition, the impact of metal doping on the surface area and pore size distribution of the parent MIL-101 was addressed. Metal content and NPs size was investigated by ICP and TEM, respectively. Furthermore, crystallinity of the resulting doped samples was confirmed by Powder X-ray Diffraction (PXRD) technique. The results of our studies on the successful doping with Ni NPs and their impact on hydrogen adsorption are discussed.


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Date of Submission

August 2010

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Chemistry Commons