A few years ago, research at Dresden-based Fraunhofer IFAM’s Hydrogen Technologies department led to the development of a paste-like substance that can provide on-demand energy under well-controllable conditions for multiple kinds of fuel cell applications. In partnership with businesses and other research institutes, IFAM has since launched several projects to demonstrate that this substance called PowerPaste, the main ingredient of which is magnesium hydride, is both safe and easy to handle. The institute is also currently building a system to produce multiple tons of PowerPaste a year for use in field tests.
The supply volatility of renewable sources such as solar and wind will need to be countered by powerful and efficient systems that can store the generated energy at any time and make it available as soon as demand requires. One solution to solve this challenge is energy storage in a material such as hydrogen (power-to-gas).
As a secondary energy source, hydrogen has long demonstrated some key benefits. It has a high specific energy, good efficiency and guarantees emission-free use. But market take-up has been slow in many promising areas, often because the available storage solutions have proven too costly or had technological issues.