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Solvent-free Mechanochemical Synthesis of Alane (AlH3) at Room Temperature

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for the synthesis of alane with quantitative yields at ambient temperature and moderate hydrogen or ambient gas pressure while controlling side reactions.  This novel synthesis route significantly increases yields and reduces the production costs for this compound.


Alane exceeds the DOE performance criteria for hydrogen storage for transportation vehicles, but does not have a cost-efficient production route. Synthesis of alane by metathesis reactions in organic solvents is inefficient because of the need to remove solvents from the resultant alane solvates that inevitably leads to thermal decomposition of a substantial fraction of the formed alane.  Traditional mechanochemical synthetic routes require cryogenic processing to control side reactions leading to decomposition of more than 60% of the formed alane.  This new method allows for the use of a mechanochemical process at ambient temperatures and slightly elevated hydrogen or inert gas pressures to produce alane while still suppressing side reactions to produce alane in quantitative yields.  By eliminating the desolvation step inherent in the solvent-based route and the cryogenic environment of traditional mechanochemical synthesis, this novel synthesis route significantly increases yields and reduces the production costs for this compound.

• Control of side reactions without cryogenic processing
• No hazardous solvents or expensive separation and purification steps
• Fast reactions with nearly quantitative yields


Applications and Industries

Solid state hydrogen storage for fuel cell and other applications.

More Information

1: “Dry mechanochemical synthesis of alane from LiH and AlCl3”, I.Z. Hlova et al., 2014, Faraday Discussions DOI: 10.1039/c3fd00161j.

2: “Solvent-free mechanochemical synthesis of alane, AlH3: effect of pressure on the reaction pathway”,” S. Gupta et al., 2014, Green Chemistry 16: 4378-4388.

Patents applied for.

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To: Craig Forney<>