Australian and Taiwanese scientists have discovered a new molecule which puts the science community one step closer to solving one of the barriers to development of cleaner, greener hydrogen fuel-cells as a viable power source for cars.
Scientists say that the newly-discovered "28copper15hydride" puts us on a path to better understanding hydrogen, and potentially even how to get it in and out of a fuel system, and is stored in a manner which is stable and safe – overcoming Hindenburg-type risks.
"28copper15hydride" is certainly not a name that would be developed by a marketing guru, but while it would send many running for an encyclopaedia (or let's face it, Wikipedia), it has some of the world's most accomplished chemists intrigued.
Its discovery was recently featured on the cover of one of the world's most prestigious chemistry journals, and details are being presented today by Australia's Dr Alison Edwards at the 41st International Conference on Coordination Chemistry, Singapore where 1100 chemists have gathered.
The molecule was synthesised by a team led by Prof Chenwei Liu from the National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan, who developed a partial structure model.
The chemical structure determination was completed by the team at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) using KOALA, one of the world's leading crystallography tools.
Most solid material is made of crystalline structures. The crystals are made up of regular arrangements of atoms stacked up like boxes in a tightly packed warehouse. The science of finding this arrangement, and structure of matter at the atomic level, is crystallography. ANSTO is Australia's home of this science.