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Hydrogen goes powdered and mainstream

A safer, higher density alternative to liquefied hydrogen is being hailed as a potential game-changer in the industry.

Green hydrogen has been hailed as a potential game changer for Australia and an opportunity to supply zero carbon fuel to Asia-Pacific. However, green hydrogen has negative limitations that need to be addressed such as the challenge of storing and transporting the highly compressed material, which may leak more readily than natural gas.

The Inside Network spoke with Baruch Halpert, CEO of Electriq Global, an Australian-Israeli energy storage technology company that develops fuel solutions for the clean energy market, to discuss ways of overcoming hydrogen storage issues.

Currently, hydrogen is mostly delivered in two forms; compressed and liquefied. However, these two forms cannot answer the needs of all applications.

  • “When we talk about migrating hydrogen there are many challenges,” Halpert explained. “While liquified and compressed hydrogen are very good technologies, they cannot serve all the applications in the market.”

    “Compressed hydrogen applied to maritime vessels runs into an issue of density. This is because the density of compressed hydrogen is too low to store an amount high enough to power the vessel whilst leaving room for passengers or cargo.”

    Powdered hydrogen alleviates these issues because it provides more than double the energy density of compressed hydrogen and is similar to detergent powder, making it easily and safely storable.

    “Our key development is hydrogen stored as an energy-dense powder. It is safer and with a higher energy density than other hydrogen carriers. It can be kept and transported in ambient conditions, and released into fuel cells,” Halpert added.

    “Another advantage is that you get half of the hydrogen from the powder and the other half from the water. And the water we don’t transport. So that means when you deliver 1kg of compressed hydrogen you get 1kg, but when you deliver 1kg of powder you get 2kgs of hydrogen. So 1kg is coming from the powder and 1kg is coming from the water.”

    As hydrogen develops, there will be different forms of storage that companies will use. The hope is that solid powder will be delivered as an alternative to compressed and liquefied hydrogen.

    “You can deliver it like a washing detergent. We can do it in capsules, like an espresso shot. Hydrogen will come in a few forms. The powder form is just one of those forms. Its advantage is energy density and its safety profile. It’s all about the value proposition,” Halpert said.

    The idea is to target off-grid applications such as data centre generators as the most applicable solution.

    “While there is a price premium for powdered hydrogen, it is safer and with a higher energy density than other hydrogen carriers,” he noted.

    The solution is being touted as a breakthrough and has begun deployment in various industries to achieve market penetration.

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