Lithium Borohydride - Energy Storage

Energy Storage

Lithium borohydride is renowned as one of the highest energy density chemical energy carriers. Although presently of no practical importance, the solid will liberate 65 MJ/kg heat upon treatment with atmospheric oxygen. Since it has a density of 0.67 g/cm3, oxidation of liquid lithium borohydride gives 43 MJ/L. In comparison, gasoline gives 44 MJ/kg (or 35 MJ/L), while liquid hydrogen gives 120 MJ/kg (or 8.0 MJ/L). The high specific energy density of lithium borohydride has made it an attractive candidate to propose for automobile and rocket fuel, but despite the research and advocacy it has not been used widely. As with all chemical-hydride-based energy carriers, lithium borohydride is very complex to recycle (i.e. recharge) and therefore suffers from a low energy conversion efficiency. While batteries such as lithium ion carry an energy density of up to 0.72 MJ/kg and 2.0 MJ/L, their DC to DC conversion efficiency can be as high as 90%. In view of the complexity of recycling mechanisms for metal hydrides, such high energy conversion efficiencies are beyond practical reach.

Comparison of Physical Properties
Substance Specific energy MJ/kg Density g/cm3 Energy density MJ/L
LiBH4 65.2 0.666 43.4
Regular Gasoline 44 0.72 34.8
Liquid Hydrogen 120 0.0708 8
lithium ion battery 0.72 2.8 2

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