A new and safer way of storing hydrogen called POWERPASTE has been developed

One of the big potentials for green vehicles comes from hydrogen power. However, hydrogen is difficult to handle and store and can be dangerous if not stored and handled correctly. A group of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute has developed a new method of storing hydrogen in a chemical form that is easy to transport and replenish without needing an expensive filling station network.

The breakthrough material, known as POWERPASTE, will first find use in e-scooters. The material is based on magnesium hydride and was developed by a research team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials. A typical hydrogen-powered vehicle is equipped with a reinforced tank pressurized to 700 bar.

Hydrogen from that tank feeds a fuel cell that converts the hydrogen into electricity to operate an electric motor. While hydrogen is an effective solution for normal and large vehicles, it's not an option for small vehicles like electric scooters and motorcycles that are commonly used in larger cities. POWERPASTE is able to store hydrogen in a chemical form at room temperature and at atmospheric pressure that can be released on demand.

Scientists at the Institute say POWERPASTE remains safe even when an E-scooter stands in place in the sun for hours at a time. Refueling using the material is also simple, with riders only needing to replace an empty cartridge with the new one and fill another tank with normal water. A main component of POWERPASTE is magnesium, which is one of the most abundant elements on earth and easily available.

Magnesium powder is combined with hydrogen to form magnesium hydride in a process that happens at a temperature of 350 degrees Celsius and 5 to 6 times atmospheric pressure. The team adds an ester and metal salt to form the finished product. The paste is fed to the propulsion system of the small vehicle from a cartridge using a plunger with water added from an onboard tank creating a reaction that generates hydrogen gas and a quantity dynamically adjusted to the requirements of the fuel-cell.