Hydrogen's noble heavyweight collaboration

A new approach to storing large volumes of hydrogen gas has been discovered, which might take us one step closer to a so-called hydrogen economy. When compressed at high pressure with the relatively unreactive noble gas xenon, molecular hydrogen forms a previously unknown solid, according to Maddury Somayazulu of the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory. The novel material forms at 41000 atmospheres in a diamond anvil device and is stable with xenon pair distances close to those seen in dense metallic xenon. Xenon is actually too heavy and expensive for practical applications, but the insights the team is gaining into the behaviour of hydrogen under such conditions may lead them to a less dense and cheaper alternative.