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January 2, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 1


Letters to the editor

Hydrogen as a liquid

I did enjoy Michael McCoy’s case study 1 on page 18 of the Oct. 25 issue of C&EN. I and others I could name would be remiss by failing to point out that the same basic idea—that is, a reversible hydrogenation-dehydrogenation cycle to first store hydrogen in a liquid, easily transportable form and then catalytically release it as gas for use as fuel in internal combustion engines or in fuel cells—has been tried before. As noted in the article, that would theoretically allow conventionally equipped gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles to adapt existing tank and dispensing technology and infrastructure to use H2 as a substitute for standard liquid fuels like gasoline or diesel.

I initially became acquainted with this concept when Battelle Memorial Institute–Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) was approached in 2008 or 2009 by Air Products. Air Products R&D staffs, led by Guido Pez, wanted PNNL to advance this technology to a viable demonstration stage using catalytic technology developed at Air Products and including process intensification (microchannel) technology developed by PNNL. The Air Products technology eventually was published as a series of US patents—7351395, 7101530, 7766986, and 8003073—and a Canadian patent, 2465555C, having Pez as an inventor. There may also be additional patents that I am not currently aware of.

Since this was around the time of my retirement from PNNL, I am not exactly clear as to the outcome or the results of the proposed collaboration, although I did hear that both parties had agreed to a scope of work and the fees, terms, and conditions involved but that expected funding from the Department of Energy was either late in coming or eventually denied. I believe the technology has strong merit but as far as I know was not developed to a stage that would be ready for a commercial demonstration.

I am glad to see that this general idea is again gaining some traction.

James F. White
Richland, Washington

MOFs with magnets

Mitch Jacoby’s article “MOFs Have a New Trick” (C&EN, Nov. 29, 2021, page 30) reminded me that these unique materials have also caught the attention of analytical chemists.

By incorporating magnetic nanoparticles into metal-organic frameworks, researchers have developed a relatively new miniaturized version of the matrix solid-phase dispersion sample-preparation technique known as magnetic dispersive micro solid-phase extraction (M-D-μSPE). The successful isolation and recovery of 15 priority pollutant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at trace concentration levels from water was studied using M-D-μSPE (LCGC North Am.201836, 464).

Paul R. Loconto
Okemos, Michigan

ACS as a verb

I was sad to find that the American Chemical Society has now joined technical and advertising entities in dumbing down the use of the English language (using nouns as verbs). The cover ad for C&EN had “How do you ACS?” and the back had “There is more than one way to ACS.” Would you accept such nonsense in any of your journals?

I could understand it for advertisers for pizza using “This is how we pizza” since they are aiming at a general audience, who might think it “cute.” I objected to the use of “This is why we science” from a pharmaceutical company. If you want science to be a respected and accurate, factual profession, you should stop using this method of communication.

Why would an association like ACS want to brand itself as illiterate? I guess it would be OK if ACS as used stood for “acting completely stupid.”

William Kenealy
Fitchburg, Wisconsin

ACS as welcoming

Another good Comment about equity and inclusion (Nov. 15/22, 2021, page 52). I appreciated the fact that you defined equity (as opposed to equality) and illustrated clearly what that implies. Also, it is important that you pointed out what is initial privilege and the fact that recognizing it is not the same as laying blame. If we do not recognize a problem and clearly state what it is, we cannot do anything to rectify it!

However, near the end you state, “I assure you that at this time, all ACS members do not consider ACS to be an inclusive and welcoming society.” This cannot be correct—surely some American Chemical Society members consider ACS to be inclusive and welcoming. I believe what you meant to say is, “I assure you that at this time, not all ACS members consider ACS to be an inclusive and welcoming society.”

John Finkenbine



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