Powerpaste, hydrogen paste

POWERPASTE stores hydrogen in a chemical form at room temperature and atmospheric pressure to be then released on demand

Hydrogen is considered by many to be the future of sustainable propulsion. The first hydrogen-powered cars are already on the road.

However, for smaller vehicles, installing a high pressure tank to store hydrogen is impractical.

One solution launched from the Fraunhofer Institute is POWERPASTE . It is a safe way to store hydrogen in a chemical form that is easy to transport and replenish without the need for a costly network of gas stations.

This new paste is based on magnesium hydride and has been developed by a research team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden.

Gasoline and diesel engines will be replaced by new, more sustainable propulsion systems. A fuel with great potential is hydrogen.

Hydrogen vehicles are equipped with a reinforced tank that is fed at a pressure of 700 bar. This tank powers a fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity. This, in turn, drives an electric motor to propel the vehicle. In the case of passenger cars, this technology is very advanced.

Hydrogen station networks are expected to grow in the coming years. However, hydrogen is currently not an option for smaller vehicles such as electric scooters and motorcycles as the pressure increase during refueling would be too great. This excludes these types of vehicles from hydrogen technology.

Now researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technology (IFAM) in Dresden have created a hydrogen-based fuel that is ideal for small vehicles: POWERPASTE , which is based on solid magnesium hydride.

And since POWERPASTE only starts to decompose at temperatures of around 250 ° C, it remains safe even when a moped is standing in the scorching sun for hours .

In addition, refueling is very simple . Instead of going to the service station, drivers only have to replace an empty cartridge with a new one and fill the tank with water from the mains. This can be done both at home and outside.

The main raw material of POWERPASTE is magnesium, one of the most abundant elements and, therefore, easily accessible.

POWERPASTE is released from a cartridge by a plunger. When water is added from a built-in tank, the resulting reaction generates hydrogen gas in an amount dynamically adjusted to the actual needs of the fuel cell. In fact, only half of the hydrogen comes from POWERPASTE; the rest comes from the added water.

POWERPASTE has a huge energy storage density. It is much higher than that of a 700 bar high pressure tank. And compared to batteries, it has a ten times higher energy storage density.

POWERPASTE offers a range comparable – or even superior – to that of gasoline.

Thanks to its enormous energy storage density, POWERPASTE is also an interesting option for cars, delivery vehicles and range extenders in battery-powered electric vehicles.

It could also greatly extend the flight time of large drones, which could fly for several hours instead of just 20 minutes.

POWERPASTE does not require expensive infrastructure . In places where there are no hydrogen filling stations, normal gas stations might sell POWERPASTE in cartridges. The paste is fluid and pumpable. It can be supplied by a standard filling system, using relatively inexpensive equipment.

The transportation of POWERPASTE is also inexpensive, as there are no expensive high-pressure tanks and no extremely cold liquid hydrogen is used.

The Fraunhofer IFAM is currently building a POWERPASTE production facility at the Fraunhofer Project Center for Energy Storage and ZESS Systems. Scheduled to go into operation in 2021, this new facility will be able to produce up to four tons of POWERPASTE per year, not just for e-scooters.

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