The Fraunhofer Society announced the construction of a plant for the production of a new type of energy carrier - "hydrogen paste" called Powerpaste. It is designed as a safe alternative to hydrogen gas for use as a versatile fuel. The technology is ready for practical use and large-scale field tests will begin this year.
At its core, Powerpaste is a magnesium hydride that forms at 350 ° C and 5-6 atm. Ether and metal salts are added to the material to give it the form of a viscous paste. It does not require any special storage conditions, is safe at temperatures up to 250 ° C, and can be easily pumped by low-power pumps. In the form of a paste, hydrogen is said to store 10 times more energy than a similar sized lithium battery.
To use hydrogen paste, ordinary water is needed, contact with which leads to the release of hydrogen gas. Moreover, about half of it comes from the water itself, which also becomes part of the hybrid fuel cell, and not ballast. The paste is very easy to dose in order to gradually release the required volume of gas in the chamber, which then burns out in the engine firebox. Prototype tests have shown that the fuel cell on the Powerpaste is comparable to gasoline in terms of range at one refueling.
The future plant will produce up to 4 tons of Powerpaste per year for the needs of pilot projects. While there are few questions about the technology itself, the economic prospects are still somewhat vague. It is not clear how expensive such a fuel will be in production, how the problem of emissions into the atmosphere will be solved, whether there will be any benefit from the use of paste in transport. On the other hand, hydrogen is the future, and therefore it is gratifying to see that science is already creating new safe ways to store it.
Prototype generator powered by Powerpaste