London, October 4 : Scientists in Greece have theorised an idea to make a material that can pave the way for a new generation of hydrogen fuel tanks for cars that can store significant amounts of gas.
University of Crete researchers say that the new material would be able to absorb 6.1 per cent of its weight in hydrogen at room temperature and pressure.
Their work attains significance because the US Department of Energy had set for scientists the challenge create materials capable of holding 6% of their weight in hydrogen five years ago.
The new design comprises sheets of graphene, atom-thick carbon sheets, separated by 1.2-nanometre-tall carbon nanotube pillars.
Simulations were used to ensure that hydrogen molecules could freely diffuse throughout a chunk of the material, which is "doped" with positively charged lithium ions to strengthen its hold on the gas.
"This material's storage capacity is, to the best of our knowledge, the best reported in the literature regarding carbon-based materials (at normal temperature and pressure)," says research leader George Froudakis.
"To my knowledge there are at least two research groups trying to produce (the new material)," the researcher adds.
A research article describing the theoretical material has been published in the journal Nano Letters.