TECHNOLOGY

POWERPASTE – HYDROGEN GLOOP TO DRIVE E-SCOOTERS, HAS THE FUTURE ARRIVED?

NOPE, POWERPASTE IS NOT SOMETHING TO GET YOUR TEETH AS WHITE AS SIMON COWELL'S, BUT TO FUEL YOUR NEXT E-BIKE OR E-MOTORCYCLE, PERHAPS...

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In these days of global warming, with freezing winters filled with prowling beasts from the east and boiling summers with baking roads, the planet is searching for alternatives to fossil fuels with some urgency. One of the fuels which might provide a solution, is hydrogen, it's readily available and can be used as a vehicle power source. Its usefulness has been known since the days of the ill-fated Hindenberg Airship, but in those days its volatility was its undoing and led to disaster. But things have moved on and harnessing and releasing hydrogen power in a safe usable way is currently being extensively researched with one of the new and much safer forms called Powerpaste.

The research and development for hydrogen cars is quite well developed now, and they are already on the scene, particularly in Germany, but it's been proving harder to get the technology into two-wheeled vehicles, as the pressure surge during refilling is too high for most e-motorcycles or e-scooters. However, it seems that the newly developed Powerpaste might be one solution to that problem. It is basically a way to store hydrogen safely in a solid paste based on readily available magnesium hydride and is being developed by the Fraunhofer Insitute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM, based in Dresden in Germany. Dr Van Vogt of the IFAM explains that “POWERPASTE stores hydrogen in a chemical form at room temperature and atmospheric pressure to be then released on-demand,”

One of the great advantages of this technology is that the infrastructure it requires to put it into action is extremely simple. To re-fuel, the empty cartridge of paste is simply taken out and replaced with a new one and the tank topped up with ordinary water. Simple as that, no charging or hydrogen stations required. Plus the paste is stable and relatively easy to store and transport to where it's needed, but releases all the power of hydrogen when mixed with water in the right proportions. The density produces ten times the energy density of a battery, so the range is certainly comparable to petrol.

How it works
On the bike, the Powerpaste gloop (and I use the word gloop advisedly – see picture!) is extruded by being pushed by a plunger into a chamber where it's mixed with just ordinary water, and incidentally half of the hydrogen gas released comes from the water (H2O). The chemical reaction, in this equivalent of a damp gloopy carburettor, releases hydrogen at a controlled rate, which feeds the fuel cell to create electricity to drive the bike. How very neat!

So in areas where it is difficult or impossible to put refuelling infrastructure in place, cartridges of Powerpaste could be stocked and just bought by the rider and swapped into their e-motorcycle or e-scooter when required, then water added. The paste is viscous but fluid so it can even be pumped through a filling line which makes it yet more versatile. All these factors would make stations selling it easy and relatively cheap to build compared to standard fuel stations.

A pilot centre is planned for 2021 which should be able to produce up to four tons of Powerpaste a year, so the developers are really putting their money where their mouth is.

So is the future gloop coloured? Would you trade in your internal combustion engine for a hydrogen-powered e-machine with exchangeable cartridges when fuel was required? What do you think? Let us know at news@wemoto.com or drop us a message on Facebook.

Comments:

26/02/21 -Hi Wemoto
Regarding Hydrogen Gloop! I think this is great Idea, We are all going to be forced down this road anyway so to me, this sounds like the best solution so far, not only for two wheels but a whole host of other things like power generators, heating systems etc
The future is bright! the future is Gloop! Just hope they can come up with a decent sound track for the bikes as that electric Noise just don’t do it for most of us!

TOPICS: FUEL FUTURE ELECTRIC
Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 17 February 2021 in Technology

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