Novel Material for Safe and Efficient Storage of Gases

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • Adam Heller, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Joo-Woon Lee, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • David Eisenberg, Ph.D.
  • Keith Friedman, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Sheryl Coffman , Chemical Eng

Background/unmet need

While natural gas combusting vehicles (NGVs) are available, they are not widely used because of their limited range and because of the scarcity of refueling stations. At 200-250 bar compression and for tank sizes that are practical, the range of passenger vehicles is typically 200-250 miles. The pressure could be reduced through filling the fuel tank with a natural gas sorbent, reversibly adsorbing several hundred times its weight and volume in natural gas.

Invention Description

The effectiveness of porous carbons as gas sorbers has been associated in the past with their specific surface areas and pore sizes. However, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have tailored a carbon surface such that it sorbs gases via interaction with polar nitrogen-containing functional groups on its surface.


  •  Scalable and facile chemical synthesis of prerequisite materials
  • May allow NGVs to compete directly with gasoline-powered consumer vehicles


  •  5X higher adsorption capacity compared to the best carbon sieve currently available
  • Able to adsorb a variety a variety of gases including argon, nitrogen, and methane

Market potential/applications

Worldwide, the demand for NGVs grew 326% from 2006 to 2014. The global adsorbent market is projected to reach $4.3 billion by 2020.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype