Metal Hydrides are a class of materials that could be used for solid state hydrogen storage for fuel cell vehicles. Professor Fang conducted a $1.0M metal hydride research project from 2005 to 2010 as a member of the Metal Hydride Center of Excellence led by Sandia National Lab. Currently the Fang group is applying the metal hydride technology to thermal energy storage. We developed a “thermal battery” based on metal hydrides or chlorides that can store energy from the electrical grid or renewable sources and release the energy in the form of heat or cooling during service. This technology was funded by ARPA-E through a $3.4M project for electrical vehicle cabin air conditioning applications.
Recently we developed a metal hydride based heating and cooling system (M-HVAC) for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The new M-HVAC system can provide pre-heating to fuel cell to improve its performance and cabin heating or cooling without consuming either hydrogen or other external energy sources, thus it can boost the driving range of FCEV by 20%.