U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Fuel Cell Technologies Office

Hydrogen Storage Materials Database Demonstration Webinar (Text Version)

Below is the text version of the webinar titled "Hydrogen Storage Database Demonstration," originally presented on December 13, 2011. In addition to this text version of the audio, you can view the presentation slides and a recording of the webinar (WMV 55 MB).

Lindsay Southerland:
Good morning. My name is Lindsay Southerland and I'm with BCS, Inc. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database webinar, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Fuel Cell Technologies Program. Our featured presenters today are Ned Stetson, hydrogen storage team lead of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program, and Marni Lenahan, manager of technology deployment at BCS, Inc. Marni and Ned will provide an overview of a new resource for the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database. After both presentations are completed, we will hold a Q&A session. If you have a question, please utilize the webinar questions tab on the right hand side of the screen to post your questions. You can do this at any point during the presentation and our presenters will answer your question at the end. Please be sure to let us know if you would like your question directed to Marni or Ned. After Q&A, I will end today's session by sharing how to access slides from today's webinar as well as previous webinars in the series. With that I would like to hand today's webcast over to our first presenter, Ned Stetson.

Ned Stetson:
Thank you, Lindsay. Hello and welcome to the webinar to introduce and demonstrate DOE's new comprehensive Hydrogen Storage Materials Database. As Lindsay mentioned, I'm Ned Stetson, the team lead for hydrogen storage activities within the DOE Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies Program. I want to take just a few minutes to provide a brief introduction to our program and give some background on the database and then I'll turn it over to Marni Lenahan of BCS who will take you on a tour of the database, including demonstrating some of the search features and how to request to input new data.

The Fuel Cell Technologies Program, within the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), includes research and development programs in energy efficiency such as buildings, vehicles, and manufacturing technologies, as well as renewable energy such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies program is a comprehensive portfolio of activities that addresses the full range of barriers facing the development and deployment of hydrogen fuel cells with the ultimate goal of decreasing dependence on oil, reducing carbon emissions, enabling clean energy and reliable power generation. Within the program, the hydrogen storage activities focus on developing advanced hydrogen storage technologies capable of meeting the needs of various applications with the goal of enabling and accelerating their commercialization. To date, the program has substantially invested in the development of advanced materials that have potential as hydrogen storage materials. As an example, from 2005 to 2010, the program supported three material centers of excellence, each of which consists of 12 to 20 partner organizations to develop materials within the classes of reversible metal hydrides, hydride adsorbents, and chemical materials. Additionally, the program has funded numerous independent research efforts to also develop hydrogen source materials.

This program has generated a large amount of data, for instance, through this recent inspection, over 400 new materials were investigated. Also, millions of different chemical formulations were invested computationally. So it is thought that developing a single site where the data could be consolidated would benefit the research community, and thus, the idea of this database was conceived. At this time, we would start populating the database, with results generated through the three material centers of excellence; however, there is still a lot more data to add from the center PIs (principal investigators). We also intend to start collecting and incorporating data from the other independently funded projects through the DOE. To that end, we encourage all the DOE funded PIs to start submitting data requests using the request functionality, which is incorporated into this database.

So our goal is to make this database a comprehensive viable resource for the hydrogen storage community, so we will often provide and include data generated through non-DOE funded activities as long as that work has been published in a peer reviewed journal. We do not intend to actively search the research literature to discover new materials and data from corporations into the database and will, instead, rely on researchers request for the inclusion of the data. So we encourage all researchers to submit requests to us for inclusion of the data. Again, for non-DOE funded PIs, the work has to be published in peer reviewed journals.

So another feature of this database portal is that we incorporated the Hydpark metal hydrides materials databases that the community has found to be so useful. The Hydpark databases were developed by Gary Sandrock and George Thomas of the International Energy Agency (IEA) activities, IEA, Hydrogen Implementing Agreement (HIA) with of course DOE and Sandia National Laboratories. These are very comprehensive data sets on metal hydride materials, their properties, and references. It was formerly housed on Sandia National Laboratory's server, but unfortunately, it has been offline for well over a year now, so with this portal we once again make it available.

So as you see, there is a link for you to contact us within the database, so as you use the database, if you have suggestions on how we can improve it, please use this feature for your comments and suggestions so we can continue to improve the database and search features to make it more useful to the community. As I wrap up, I would like to thank the BCS team that worked with us to develop the database. Specifically, I would like to thank Anita Vanick, Kevin Hoffmaner, Marni Lenahan, Lindsay Southerland, and Rob Sawyer. I'm sure I left some other people off the list and I apologize for that, and of course, we also need to give a lot of thanks to George Thomas and Gary Sandrock for the help and suggestions on this effort and the work they did to put together the Hydpark databases.

Finally, I would like to thank all the researchers that have submitted their data so far and the host we will be submitting to soon, and if you didn't get it, that's a hint that we're still waiting on data. Please get your data submitted so we can get it incorporated. Of course to all of you participating in the webinar today, I hope you find the webinar informative and the database useful. So with that I would like to conclude and I'll introduce Miss Marni Lenahan from BCS who will take you on a tour of the database. Marni, take it away.

Marni Lenahan:
Thank you, Ned for the introduction. As he said I am Marni Lenahan and I'm the technology deployment manager in BCS, Inc. Today I'll be talking to you about the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database, which is now live and public. I'll be focusing on six focal areas, the background of the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database, the current status of the project, the type of data within the database, and I will also perform a robust demonstration, and then we'll talk about how to request to add data.

[New Slide]

First of all we'll talk about the background. The Hydrogen Storage Materials Database was built to retain information from the current Department of Energy's hydrogen storage funded research and make this data more accessible to the public. This data does include properties of hydrogen storage materials investigated such as absorption and release conditions, capacities, thermodynamics, sensitive conditions, and much, much more.

[New Slide]

Data does continue to be collected from DOE funded research sources and we will continue to do that in the future. The database is meant to grow and ultimately to be a resource for the research community. The ultimate objective is to accelerate the development of advanced hydrogen storage materials and aim to share information with the public in an open and accessible manner.

[New Slide]

There are two types of data in the database. The first is Hydride Information Center or Hydpark data. This is a historical data collection through 2002 of metal hydrogen systems including their properties, applications, and literature sources. This work was funded by the Department of Energy and the Sandia National Laboratories to contribute to the International Energy Agency Hydrogen Implementing Agreement, or IEA HIA. There will be no further additions to this database as it is historical in nature. There's also a current set of data, which is currently being collected from principal investigators. It includes data from DOE funded research since 2002 and it will also include data from requesters once vetted and approved. There are three categories of materials: adsorbents, chemical materials, and reversible hydrides. I'll show you all these materials in a detailed demonstration today.

[New Slide]

So now I would like to move to the hydrogen storage materials homepage. Here it is. Right here you can see that you can request to add data and contact us, but we'll get to those last. Right now you can see that there are three search types: general, advanced, and the Hydpark data. The first two are from current data sets, and the Hydpark is from the Hydride Information Center's historical data set, and we'll go through each of those today.

In the current data set, you can look and see under the general search there are three data sets for three types of materials: adsorbents, chemicals, and reversible hydrides. If you look in the advanced property search, the same three materials are here: adsorbents, chemicals, and reversible hydrides. The Hydride Information Center or Hydpark data set has a different type of search and we'll go through that in detail later. The historical data collection here is from the metal hydrogen system and it includes their properties, applications, and literature sources. We will explore all of the searches in detail next.

Today, I'll conduct several search demonstrations for all three search types and also go into potential scenarios for use in the database. I'll also show you the many ways to view and export the data. First, we'll look at a general search. I would like to point out that you must select at least one material type, but you can select many more. First, we'll do a search for chemicals, ammonia borane, just so I can show you what the search result looks like. Right here, you can see all the search results do appear in your browser window. There are seven new results for our search parameters, and included are the material name, chemical formula, principal investigator, and institutions. You can also see many more details.

There are two ways to do that. One is by clicking "show details" within one material name and you'll see all of the detailed information here. Everything is filled out that was given to us by the principal investigator. You can see for this particular material type we have material name, chemical formula, principal investigator, the institution he's associated with, the variant type code, the development status code, synthesis conditions, and much more. I would also like to point out that there is an additional comments region and for some materials are filled out by the principal investigators and it can have a lot of robust information. I would encourage you to look there. In addition to more references, they sometimes have comments like "materials shown?", so it can be very valuable for researchers.

You can also show details for the entire search results and see everything in your browser window here. Now if you go across you see all of the information has been entered and it is a little bit funky, so I'll show how to export the data. You can export using Excel. Your browser will prompt you to open the spreadsheet and you can see the entire report in an Excel spreadsheet. When you move across to the right you'll see all of the material information that has been entered by the principal investigator. You go down and see all of the information. You can also take a look at this by PDF, and you'll see the report looks very similar to the Excel spreadsheet or its browser search window.

I would like to go back and just show you how to do one more type of general search. You must select one material type, but you can also select more than that. This time we'll do two material types at once. We'll look at the chemical and reversible hydrides and look at everything that was done at the Ohio State University. You can see there are 4 search results in chemical and 12 search results for reversible hydrides. You see all of the search results in your browser window. You can also show detail and expand it here or just see the details of one material. I would also like to show you what this looks like in a report because it does separate out the two material types. So here you can see the 4 search results for chemicals and the 12 search results for reversible hydrides. Once everything is in Excel, you can feel free to manipulate it and save it to your personal computer. All of this information is available for public consumption.

Again, you can look at it from a PDF perspective and see a clean report divided into chemicals and reversible hydrides. At any time when you're in the database if you click the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database title, you'll be brought back to the homepage. So now we'll do a couple of advanced property searches. You must select one material type to begin the search, and you only need to fill in the applicable fields. You don't need to fill in everything, just what you're looking for.

You see there are quite a few fields here. Under each material, there are different fields that you can search for. There are also additional properties that you can search for. I'll show you them all here today. If you're looking for something in particular, an advanced search can be really valuable because you can look at a specific area or temperature range or release rate. Any material information that you're looking for can be found here. For today's purposes, we'll just look at the basic information.

The first search we'll do today is adsorbents. Maybe you want to see what kind of research has been going on at your Alma mater, and you can take a look at the University of Michigan. The adsorbents search results in the University of Michigan yields 12 results and it looks just like all of the other searches. The general search and the advanced property search do result in the same results, so you can see everything here in your browser window. I would like to point out that additional comments are incredibly valuable.

We'll go back into the advanced property search and look at another instance. Say you're looking in chemicals and you'd like to see an old colleague's current body of work. We'll just take on him for today. He has 15 search results in chemicals, and as you can see, all of these are continuing development, so your old colleague has been busy for the past few years. Now we'll take a look in reversible hydrides and revisit a grad school era passion by looking at the variant code types for stoichiometry. Here you see 15 search results with a lot of detail from Brookhaven and Ohio State. If you wanted to just pull a report you can see everything in a PDF nice and clean.

I would also like to point out that you can do different search results in the hydride information center, the historical data set, also known as Hydpark. The search results here do a little bit different and that's because the data is separate from the current data. I would also like to note that you can find out more information on materials, abbreviations, and the historical database by clicking on "Hydpark data overview" at the bottom of your screen here. When you click this it'll open a PDF provided in April 2010 from Gary Sandrock and George Thomas and this goes through what was posted on the Sandia National Laboratories site, which is also posted here now.

You'll see some radiation, information on materials, and more. Going back into your search you can search for materials class A2B and you can see how this looks. So there are a lot of search results. There are 140. I would like to point out that this does look a little bit different than the previous searches that we did just because it's a unique data set, so you can see the material class, composition formula, hydrogen weight percentage, heat of formation, temperature, pressure, author year, reference number, and comment field. One thing I'll note is that there is no "show details" button on this screen and that's because for the Hydpark data set, all of the information is included right here; however, if you intend to export it to Excel or to a PDF, you can see all of the information in the report.

If you look in Excel here it's a very similar format to the other search types. Another thing I would like to point out is that if you click a reference number, you will see where the material has been referenced in the public journal. You will see the reference number, the author's name, and any co-authors, which journal it was published in, exactly when and where to find it, the title of the article, some keywords that can help you in searching, and the language it was published in. Now let's say 140 search results is a little bit more than you were bargaining for. So we can go through and you can narrow it down with a search constraint.

So today we'll just take a look at 100 to 300 degrees Celsius, and it will eliminate quite a bit to 47 search results. You'll see everything again in your browser window and all the details appear on your screen. Again, when you click the reference number, it shows the document history of that reference and where it appears. We will do one final hydrogen Hydride Information Center search. This time we'll look at the last year that the information was collected, which was 2002, and just see how much work was done there. You will see 133 search results in the last year of the Hydride Information Center collection.

Now I would like to take some time and look at some potential scenarios that folks might use while exploring this database. Let's say someone recently read an article on advanced vehicle technologies. Imagine that automotive manufacturers were interested in some room temperature storage materials like adsorbents. The reader might be interested in finding more about these materials, and if they were, they can just do a general search for adsorbents. They have a lot to look through with 55 search results. You can see all the details here and begin to look at all of the DOE funded research that's going on and has been discontinued or is on hold. All of the robust data is included here. Again you can see it in a PDF.

Let's take a look at another scenario. Maybe a research scientist is working on hydrogen storage for a particular application. For her material development, she might be most concerned with the temperature at the onset of hydrogen release as well as the impurities being released, particularly ammonia. So to help this research scientist, she may go on to our database and do a general search for chemicals, ammonia, and when she does this search, there are 72 search results for ammonia. Because she is really just looking for impurities released, she can show details and see all the impurities released that have been entered by the principal investigators here in one of the final columns.

Because she is also interested in temperatures for release, we can export the data to Excel and she can manipulate them. So here she might want to hide some of the columns so she can see what she is working with. We will hide a few columns and just look where data has been entered, and you will see that you can now compare the material names with the temperature onset released, the impurities released, and the temperature at full release for all of the materials and research results. This might help her with her particular application.

There will be one final scenario today. Say a graduate student is starting a literature review to assist him in his research topic on reversible hydrides for hydrogen storage. He might like to get a sense of the breadth of materials that he has so far under the DOE Hydrogen Program. To do that, he can do an advanced search for reversible hydrides and see what is out there. There are 30 search results available, but as you know, college students sometimes don't have a lot of time to dig in there and there are a lot of details in each of these, so he may need to narrow his search results a little bit.

In order to focus his search, he might want to just see what materials are still being studied. So we will go back into the advanced properties search for reversible hydrides and select a development status code "continuing development." This stipulation will show only reversible hydride materials that are still being studied by DOE funded projects, and this limited his search quite a bit. It cut it in half down to 14, so that's a lot more manageable, and now he might be able to look at the details in a little bit more time. So while he's doing this, he may remember that his advisor recommended work at Ohio State University in aluminoborane.

He can do a search for just that material by clicking reversible hydrides in the advanced property search, going to Ohio State University, and selecting aluminoborane. As you can see, you have to spell everything correctly or it will not show up at all, so here we go. You have to be very specific and look at aluminoborane, this time hopefully spelled correctly, and you do see two search results. So if you're looking at the search results here, one has discontinued developed and one is continued, so he can take a look and see what progress has been made in the past several years.

So I would like to thank you for your attention during this detailed demonstration. I'll show you two more items in the database before switching back over to our presentation. First of all, while you're exploring this database, which we do encourage you to do, if you have any questions or comments, you can just contact us. Fill out this form with as many details as you like. This form will be sent to our database administrator who will compile the questions, get an answer for you, and respond right away. The final item is that you can request to add data from materials that have been published in journals. You can fill out this form and we will go back to the presentation to talk in a little bit more detail about how this process works.

[New Slide]

So once you select "request to add data" at the top of the database on the home page, you would fill out the required data for the forms and any optional fields that you feel are appropriate, and the database administrator will send an email notification to acknowledge the receipt of this request and provide you with the next step.

[New Slide]

All data requests will be submitted to the Fuel Cell Technologies Program for approval. The database administrator will send a request or notification of approval and a spreadsheet for the requester to fill in with more data. After the database administrator receives the data, they will provide the requester with an estimated data for upload. All data submitted will undergo a review to check for errors before being posted on the public site.

[New Slide]

We do have some next steps for this project. We plan to continue to collect data from primary investigators as well as other hydrogen storage research groups. We also hope to have team feedback from users to improve database functionality and also provide some more feedback in data into the database. We would also like to investigate opportunities to link the database to other databases such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory material projects.

[New Slide]

I would like to thank you for listening to our demonstration today. My contact information is here and you can feel free to reach out with any questions after the demonstration, and you can also explore our database here that is now publicly available at http://hydrogenmaterialssearch.govtools.us/, and you can also just Google search for "hydrogen storage materials database." Now if you have any further questions, please type everything into your chat box here and Lindsay will facilitate a question and answer session, and I will turn it over to Lindsay.

Lindsay Southerland:
All right. Thanks, Marni. First question is directed to Ned. Ned, how is this site different from other data repositories?

Ned Stetson:
Well, this data site is specific for hydrogen storage materials, so again, we're focused primarily on material development that occurred through the DOE funded programs. However, to make it a comprehensive and totally usable site for the community, we are willing to incorporate data from non-DOE funded programs as well; again, as long as it's been published in peer reviewed journals. As Marni mentioned, we also are looking forward to ways to link this data site to some other materials repositories such as the materials project at Lawrence Berkeley.

Lindsay Southerland:
Thanks. Since you mentioned linking data, one question we've been asked is: Are any European research data being linked to this?

Ned Stetson:
At this point, since this is a public introduction of this site, no. However, we are willing to accept data from European researchers as well as Asian researchers if they submit them to us for entry and we will be looking at ways that we can incorporate or link this site to sites in Europe as well.

Lindsay Southerland:
Thanks, Ned. Marni, this next one is for you. How long are data stored in the database?

Marni Lenahan:
Thank you, Lindsay. Well right now all the data is included. There is not an archive. It just stays live and we will just continue to add to the database as we receive data from researchers and principal investigators.

Lindsay Southerland:
Thank you. All right, Ned, I think this one might be for you. It says DOE-funded research requires the material be presented in peer review journals before it can be incorporated.

Ned Stetson:
If I interpret this question correctly, does DOE-funded research have to be published in peer reviewed journals first?

Lindsay Southerland:
Yes, before we can add it to the database?

Ned Stetson:
For DOE-funded research projects, we will review them through our normal processes such as the Annual Merit Review, quarterly reports, and any progress reports. So data which is generated through the DOE-funded programs do not need to be published in peer reviewed journals before we accept it.

Lindsay Southerland:
Thank you. This next question can go to either of you. It's regarding the Hydpark database. How different is this site compared to the previous one and are they merging them together or keeping them separate?

Ned Stetson:
I guess I'll take that. The former site was actually on a Sandia server, which is no longer in operation, so the former site does not exist. So this is the same data sets, which have just been incorporated into a new server, which is the same server that houses the new database. So the difference is just in the interface. The data is the same. It's just the search interface is the only difference and of course it will be a new URL to access it.

Lindsay Southerland:
Thank you. Marni, this next one is for you. How easy is it to download a spreadsheet of the search results?

Marni Lenahan:
As you can see from my demonstration it's really, really simple. It actually just takes me moments. I guess it just depends on your Internet connection, but all you have to do is click on "export to Excel" or "export to PDF" and it shows up right away and since it's publicly available you can go ahead and do with it what you will.

Lindsay Southerland:
Thank you. I believe this next one is for you, Ned. Is DOE interested in listing supported systems for public use such as retail hydrogen?

Ned Stetson:
Can you repeat that one more time, Lindsay, please?

Lindsay Southerland:
Sure. Is DOE interested in listing deployed systems for public use such as retail hydrogen?

Ned Stetson:
Well, as a program we're definitely interested in that. For this database, this is material data, so we're looking specifically at hydrogen storage materials and the properties of hydrogen storage materials for incorporation here. Did that answer the question?

Lindsay Southerland:
I think so. Marni, this one is for you. Does the general search allow for wildcard entries such as asterisk? For example, if you're looking for metal hydrides with the chemical formula ZR*?

Marni Lenahan:
At this time it does not. It doesn't include wildcard or fuzzy search entries. That is something we would like to include in the next phase. Again, if you have any comments or questions or suggestions for our feedback, please just fill out the "contact us" form and we will happily consider it, but this one we'll certainly consider right now. Thank you.

Lindsay Southerland:
So here is the last question that we've received so far. Ned, I'll direct this one to you. There are three main search categories. Are other categories planned?

Ned Stetson:
At this point, we have the three basic classes of materials: adsorbents, chemical hydrogen storage materials, and reversible metal hydrides. At this time, that covers pretty much the full breadth of hydrogen storage materials. However, if a new class of material develops that doesn't nicely fit into one of those, then we will have to consider another category. So again, we will be flexible as we go forward.

Lindsay Southerland:
Great. Thanks. We actually just got two questions that popped up. Marni, this one is for you. How often is this database updated?

Marni Lenahan:
Well the database can be updated daily, so it depends on when we receive information. As soon as principal investigators enter data, it goes live right away. If folks request to add data, it has to be pre-approved by the DOE hydrogen storage team, so there will be a slight delay in uploading that data. So once it's approved, data can be uploaded within three business days, so it goes live quickly.

Lindsay Southerland:
Great. Thank you. Ned, the last question that I have will be directed to you. It's regarding the data in the database. Are each of the entries just the materials first discovery or does it include when it was first discovered and synthesized, or does it include any improvements in the materials investigation? So is it just when someone first discovered or synthesized it, or are there also entries where it can be improved upon?

Ned Stetson:
We definitely want to make sure we have the most recent data in there. The materials' original discovery of course is important, and I think as Marni went through her various demonstration on the search features you saw, for instance, a simple search on ammonia borane brought up a lot of examples. So we're definitely looking at the original synthesis or the original discovery of material, but then as materials get improved hopefully we can incorporate that. Some of those may actually turn out to be separate entries because of different researchers carrying on the research by either making it a different phase, incorporating different additives and stuff and it gets published separately and ends up being a separate entry most likely. However, if researchers continue to work on materials and develop more properties, they can submit updates to us and we can update the additional fields. So the answer is hopefully it's both.

Lindsay Southerland:
Thanks, Ned. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our speakers again for taking time out of their schedule to go over today's topic, the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database, and I would like to thank all of you for joining us here today. Marni, if you wouldn't mind, in the slides, back up to the one that has the links where you can access it. On the following slide is where you'll find information on how to access the recording and slides from this and previous webcasts dating back to January of this year. Thank you again for joining us. We really appreciate it and hope you will join us in the future for an upcoming Fuel Cell Technologies Program webinar. Thank you very much and have a great rest of your day.