A powder that allows you to instantly obtain hydrogen

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A powder that allows you to instantly obtain hydrogen

L’hydrogen is part of what could be called the fuels of the future. It allows to obtain and store energy without producing carbon dioxide, a very useful property in the fight against global warming. For facilitate the storage and transport of green energythe Hong Kong company EPRO Advance Technology (EAT) has developed a very practical technique for generating hydrogen. This technique uses a silicon-based powder allowing to get hydrogen by just putting it in water.

In general, the transport of hydrogen is difficult, dangerous, but also very expensive. You need a cryogenic refrigeration system or a compression system that will produce a pressure 700 times greater than that of the atmosphere. The EAT process is much simpler since we don’t even need to handle hydrogen.

Si+ powder
EPRO Advance Technology Credits

According to the researchers behind this invention, Si+ powder can be made with energy and silicon for metallurgy. EAT’s manufacturing process produces a porous silicon powder that is safe and easy to transport.

Easy to use

To obtain hydrogen, it is enough to put the Si+ powder in water and to mix a little. With an ambient temperature between 0 and 80°C, hydrogen gas will start to come out in the form of bubbles. When all the gas is removed, there remains silicon dioxide which is also called silica. This element is the major constituent of sand, and according to company officials, it can be used to obtain concrete or zeolites.

The benefits of Si+ powder

The main advantage of this powder is that it is easier to transport than hydrogen. To prove this point, EAT gave the example of the Suiso Frontier ship. This ship is 116 m long and can carry 88.5 tonnes of hydrogen. Hydrogen is cryogenically chilled to a liquid state and the process is very expensive.

If we consider the Si+ powder, it will weigh more than hydrogen, but it will take up less space. The same amount of hydrogen that the Suiso Frontier can carry can be obtained with 33 containers of Si+ powder. This means that a standard container ship that can carry 10,000 containers will be able to produce about 30,000 tons of hydrogen. It is a quantity 339 times higher what the Suiso Frontier can carry.

For the moment, what we do not know is whether the manufacturing cost and the energy required to produce the Si+ powder are not too high compared to the direct production of hydrogen. There are also the potential impacts on the environment.

Anyway, if there is no problem with the cost and the environmental footprint, it is a very attractive solution for the green energy sector.

SOURCE: newatlas

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