Creating the necessary infrastructure to store and pump natural gas into vehicles would be costly, said Zhou, to he believes the solution is to use the existing natural gas infrastructure that runs through the homes and garages of millions of Americans for household uses, such as heating, cooling and cooking. The problem is that natural gas from those lines comes out at such a low pressure that it needs to be compressed to get it to the pressure it needs to be stored at in the fuel tank. The trick: build a fuel tank that can store low-pressure natural gas, which is precisely what Zhou is using his considerable expertise in inorganic chemistry to do.
Zhou and his Texas A&M research group are working to adapt porous material to store a larger amount of the gas in the fuel tank and then let it out when needed. The key is to find the right kind of adsorbent, a type of substance that attaches atoms, ions or molecules to its surface. Zhou specializes in porous polymer networks (PPN) and metal-organic frameworks (MOF), which are crystalline frameworks consisting of metal ions along with ions or molecules that bind to the metal ions called organic ligands. Pores inside the MOF can be used for gas storage.
Source: Texas A&M University