While battery-electric vehicles steal much of the limelight in low-emission driving at the moment, hydrogen is still under study as the fuel of the future. And who would have thought it would look like weird gray mud.
Some believe that hydrogen is the best long-term option for low-emission vehicles because it is very energy dense and can refuel a vehicle in minutes – much like a conventional gasoline car.
However, that comes with a few caveats. Hydrogen is very difficult to store, and the infrastructure of fuel cell electric vehicles is rarer than a nine-coil note.
But some crazy scientists have thought outside the box and found a solution. It looks like a gloopy, dirty old toothpaste that was scraped into a U-bend. On the plus side, it’s called POWERPASTE, which is potent and cool. It’s not at all weird.
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You know, come to think of it, it has the same consistency as what came out of my car’s crankcase when I changed the oil on my old – and not at all a grandfather’s car – Peugeot 607 after 150,000 miles. The thickness is what made it so smooth… I think.
Anyway, scientists say this mud solves many of the challenges associated with conventional hydrogen storage and use in electric vehicles.
It is mainly composed of magnesium hydride. When mixed with water, it reacts to produce hydrogen (yeah!) And magnesium hydroxide (which is also a laxative … Yay?).
The hydrogen produced can then be sent to a conventional fuel cell to generate electricity which can then power whatever you want.
You are probably wondering how you fit it into a vehicle, as it is way too thick to be pumped by conventional means. Well, researchers have a solution for that as well. They say the dough would be inserted into a cartridge, which can then be inserted into whatever it is going to feed.
It is stable, non-toxic, and has a long lifespan, making it a more usable alternative to conventional hydrogen, difficult to store, and somewhat explosive.
When the juice runs out, the refueling process is as simple as removing the old, exhausted cartridge and putting in a new one filled with fresh new POWERPASTE.
Scientists don’t see their POWERPASTE revolutionizing the future of electric cars, but they see applications in drones and electric escooters. The technology could even be scaled down for use in electric camping stoves.
It might sound disgusting and a little crazy, but it might work.
HT – The Economist
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Published March 3, 2021 – 10:26 UTC