Thermal Conversion of Unsolvated Mg(B3H8)2 to BH4- in the Presence of MgH2

Noemi Leick, Angelina Gigante, Andrew Lipton, Ba Tran, Nicholas Strange, Mark Bowden, Madison Martinez, Romain Moury, Thomas Gennett, Hans Hagemann, Tom Autrey

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17 Scopus Citations


In the search for energy storage materials, metal octahydrotriborates, M(B3H8)n, n = 1 and 2, are promising candidates for applications such as stationary hydrogen storage and all-solid-state batteries. Therefore, we studied the thermal conversion of unsolvated Mg(B3H8)2 to BH4- as-synthesized and in the presence of MgH2. The conversion of our unsolvated Mg(B3H8)2 starts at â 100 °C and yields â 22 wt % of BH4- along with the formation of (closo-hydro)borates and volatile boranes. This loss of boron (B) is a sign of poor cyclability of the system. However, the addition of activated MgH2 to unsolvated Mg(B3H8)2 drastically increases the thermal conversion to 85-88 wt % of BH4- while simultaneously decreasing the amounts of B-losses. Our results strongly indicate that the presence of activated MgH2 substantially decreases the formation of (closo-hydro)borates and provides the necessary H2 for the B3H8-To-BH4 conversion. This is the first report of a metal octahydrotriborate system to selectively convert to BH4- under moderate conditions of temperature (200 °C) in less than 1 h, making the MgB3H8-MgH2 system very promising for energy storage applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3737-3747
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 26 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-78498


  • magnesium hydride
  • nuclear magnetic resonance
  • renewable energy
  • thermal conversion
  • unsolvated magnesium octahydrotriborate


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