Feb 2, 2021 - 04:30 pm

Fraunhofer develops ‘power paste’ that holds hydrogen

The paste could replace tanks and power small to large fuel cell vehicles.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden have developed a paste for hydrogen storage. The institute is calling the mass “power paste”.

The researchers also claim their paste to offer high energy densities and be suitable for all vehicles from electric scooters to cars. According to Fraunhofer IFAM, the power paste, based on the solid magnesium hydride, should allow hydrogen to be chemically stored at room temperature and ambient pressure and rereleased as required. Since the power paste only decomposes above about 250 degrees Celsius, this works without any issues even if, for example, a scooter equipped with the paste is left in the summer sun for hours.

The storage paste’s starting material is only magnesium in powder form, which is a very common element. At 350 degrees Celsius and five to six times atmospheric pressure, this is reacted with hydrogen to form magnesium hydride. The power paste is then produced with ester and metal salt.

The power paste replaces the cylindrical pressure tank used in fuel cell cars and buses. Therefore, the institute says that this solution is suitable for hydrogen drives in smaller vehicles in cases where a pressure tank would be difficult to implement.

According to the Fraunhofer researchers, the refuelling process is straightforward. Instead of driving to a filling station, the scooter driver changes a cartridge and fills tap water into a water tank. In the vehicle itself, the paste is pressed out of the cartridge and mixed with a precisely measured amount of water, depending on the required power. This reaction produces gaseous hydrogen, which can then be converted into electricity for the electric motor.

Only half of the hydrogen comes from the power paste, the other half from the water in the reaction. “The energy storage density of the power paste is therefore enormous: it is much higher than that of a 700 bar pressure tank,” says Marcus Vogt, a scientist at Fraunhofer IFAM. “Compared to batteries, it even has ten times the energy storage density.” The Fraunhofer scientists even say that the driver should achieve a similar range with the power paste extrapolated to a car as they would with the same amount of petrol, if not greater.

This kind of material’s advantages are fairly clear: a cartridge of the paste could theoretically be swapped out anywhere along a journey. Similarly, the researchers say the paste could significantly extend the flight time of large drones, thereby allowing them to fly for several hours rather than just 20 minutes. For forestry workers, surveyors or high-voltage electricians, this would allow the inspection of forestry or power lines with a drone. In a domestic kind of application, campers might also use the paste in a fuel cell to generate electricity to power a coffeemaker or toaster.

The researchers see another major advantage of their development: the paste can flow and be pumped, so aside from cartridges and canisters, the paste can also be “filled up” at a filling station. The expensive infrastructure for gaseous hydrogen at high pressure or cryogenic liquid hydrogen at – 253 degrees Celsius would no longer be necessary.

In terms of the paste’s viability, which encompasses environmental and energy balance and production and scalability, Fraunhofer IFAM is currently building a production facility at the Fraunhofer Project Center for Energy Storage Systems ZESS. This should go into operation at the end of 2021 and then produce up to four tonnes of power paste per year.

Including reporting from Sebastian Schaal, Germany.

fraunhofer.de

22 Kommentare zu “Fraunhofer develops ‘power paste’ that holds hydrogen

  1. Callens

    Please let me know regarding ongoing research on this paste and all commercial development.
    This could really be a game changer in the H2 storage and transportation.

    • Doug Starfield

      What is the cycle life of the Magnesium Hydride paste?

  2. MG

    Would be interesting to know if the paste is recyclable.

  3. Steve c

    Magnesium powder AND hydrogen ! No fire risk here then.

    • Sean Benson

      There is fire risk with practically all energy storage, fossil fuels, alkali metals in batteries and in hydrogen too. The batteries are the worst, Tesla fires burn for days and can start just from the moisture in the air

  4. Johngo

    A partnership with iceland should be made to produce the paste with geothermal. Iceland would be the new dominant player in the global energy market.

  5. John

    What’s the “waste” product?

    • Robert Wallum

      A very good question, we don’t want to eliminate fossil fuel pollution with another chemical pollutant.

  6. Ivars

    Great idea!

  7. Johannes de Lind van Wijngaarden

    When will this come on the market? It sounds great!

  8. Andre

    What happens to the magnesium and salts? Lost into the atmosphere = bad, recycled = good.

  9. Jan Sandbukt

    How is this paste acting in cold temperaturen?
    Today it show minus 20 Celcius deg.outside.

    • Coral

      The range of action of the powerpaste is from -30 to 250 degrees approximately. So it works perfectly under -20 degrees conditions.

  10. George

    Similar to the current fossil fuels , this idea has a large added logistic issue regarding distribution and availability of the product . The energy used to deliver the product should be taken into account as well .
    Electricity , on the other hand , has a huge distribution network already in place reaching almost everywhere . Granted there are maintenance costs of the grid but I think it is most efficient at delivering energy .

    • Pedro Lima

      Everywhere clearly out of most of Africa, a significant part of South America and some chunks of Asia… Not to mention deep Oceania and Antartida. Europe and North America and developed coastal spots elsewhere are far from everywhere but OK… What is mostly at stake here is the waste and subproducts. If biodegradable. Good. If not we’ll be just choosing a different enemy for the environment.

    • Donald Stockport

      Isn’t there a lot of power loss over distance with AC? They don’t seem to have solved the AC to DC and back to AC problem yet, and they have been trying fire many years now.

      • Dale Kemp

        You’ve got it backwards. Power is transmitted in AC form bbecause DC transmission results in large losses.

  11. jonny

    how much of the weight of this power paste for carrying the same amount of hydrogen like a 700ba 80 litercylinder?

  12. scotto di vettimo augustin

    Je pense que cette solution a la mérite d’exister et je pense que la recherche sur l’hydrogene sans effets néfastes doit primer !!!!! Nous sommes à un carrefour ou toutes ces solutions doivent etre développées avec l’appui des nations car nous sommes tous concernés sur notre planète .

  13. benoit

    Not enough technical details. What’s the reaction, what’s the specific energy? It sounds like a very important news.

  14. Robert Wallum

    What field trials have been made with this fuel?

    What is the energy consumption per usable Kw output and what are the whole cycle pollutants involved from acquiring input materials through manufacturing, consumption and recycling/disposal?

    Get the right answers and it will be a global ‘Savior’.

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Found on electrive.com
https://www.electrive.com/2021/02/02/fraunhofer-develops-hydrogen-storage-paste/
02.02.2021 16:43