Reactive Vapor-Phase Additives toward Destabilizing y-Mg(BH4)2 for Improved Hydrogen Release

Nicholas Strange, Noemi Leick, Sarah Shulda, Andreas Schneemann, Vitalie Stavila, Andrew Lipton, Michael Toney, Thomas Gennett, Steven Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus Citations


Magnesium borohydride (Mg(BH4)2) is a promising candidate for material-based hydrogen storage due to its high hydrogen gravimetric/volumetric capacities and potential for dehydrogenation reversibility. Currently, slow dehydrogenation kinetics and the formation of intermediate polyboranes deter its application in clean energy technologies. In this study, a novel approach for modifying the physicochemical properties of Mg(BH4)2 is described, which involves the addition of reactive molecules in the vapor phase. This process enables the investigation of a new class of additive molecules for material-based hydrogen storage. The effects of four molecules (BBr3, Al2(CH3)6, TiCl4, and N2H4) with varying degrees of electrophilicity are examined to infer how the chemical reactivity can be used to tune the additive-Mg(BH4)2 interaction and optimize the release of hydrogen at lower temperatures. Control over the amounts of additive exposure to Mg(BH4)2 is shown to prevent degradation of the bulk γ-Mg(BH4)2 crystal structure and loss of hydrogen capacity. Trimethylaluminum provides the most encouraging results on Mg(BH4)2, maintaining 97% of the starting theoretical Mg(BH4)2 hydrogen content and demonstrating hydrogen release at 115 °C. These results firmly establish the efficacy of this approach toward controlling the properties of Mg(BH4)2 and provide a new path forward for additive-based modification of hydrogen storage materials.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1690-1700
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-80159


  • additives
  • electrolytes
  • hydrogen storage
  • magnesium borohydride
  • synchrotron radiation
  • vapor-phase chemistry


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