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Synthesis and characterization of microporous hybrid nanocomposite membrane as potential hydrogen storage medium towards fuel cell applications

  • R. Naresh Muthu
  • S. RajashabalaEmail author
  • R. Kannan
Original Paper


Hydrogen is believed to be the clean energy source for the future, since water is the only by-product of hydrogen fuel cell. However, the great obstacle for the blooming of hydrogen economy is the development of safe, efficient, and economical onboard hydrogen storage medium. This paper describes the hydrogen storage performance of microporous polyetherimide/acid-treated halloysite nanotube/activated hexagonal boron nitride (PEI/A-HNT/Ah-BN) hybrid nanocomposite membranes. The microporous PEI/A-HNT/Ah-BN hybrid nanocomposite membranes were synthesized by a facile phase inversion technique. The synthesized hybrid nanocomposite membranes were characterized extensively by techniques like X-ray diffraction (XRD), micro-Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and CHNS elemental analysis. The microporous throughout the membrane matrix and the superior dispersion of A-HNT, Ah-BN nanomaterials on the surface of PEI were confirmed by SEM. The hydrogen storage properties were investigated by Sieverts-like hydrogenation setup. The outcomes indicated that the PEI/A-HNT/Ah-BN hybrid nanocomposite membrane exhibits best hydrogen storage capacity as 4.2 wt% compared with PEI/A-HNT (3.6 wt%), PEI/Ah-BN (2.4 wt%), and pristine PEI (0.8 wt%) membranes. Furthermore, the binding energy of stored hydrogen for PEI/A-HNT/Ah-BN hybrid nanocomposite is found to be 0.32 eV. In addition, the reusability of PEI/A-HNT/Ah-BN hybrid nanocomposite was studied and also exhibited good long-term stability (91.43%) even after 5th cycles. These results indicate that the proposed microporous PEI/A-HNT/Ah-BN hybrid nanocomposite membrane strategy provides a direction for new materials that meet the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hydrogen storage targets 2020 for fuel call applications.


Activated hexagonal BN nanoparticles (Ah-BN) Acid-treated halloysite nanotubes (A-HNTs) Microporous PEI/A-HNT/Ah-BN hybrid nanocomposite Phase inversion technique Hydrogen storage 



One of the authors, Dr. S. Rajashabala, acknowledges the University Grants Commission of India for providing grant to carry out this work under UGC-MRP (F.No. 41-893/2012 (SR)). The facilities provided by UGC-UPE for micro-Raman and USIC-MKU for FTIR studies are acknowledged.


This study was funded by UGC-MRP [F.No. 41-893/2012 (SR)].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhysicsMadurai Kamaraj UniversityMaduraiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Energy Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Physics, University College of EngineeringAnna UniversityDindigulIndia

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