When the powder is stirred into water, hydrogen bubbles out, leaving behind only silica
Spotted: One of the issues holding back the commercialisation of green energy is the difficulty of transporting and storing hydrogen. Hydrogen is notoriously difficult to ship and store, as it requires high pressures or extremely low temperatures. As a result, many companies have been reluctant to invest in hydrogen power, owing to the significant infrastructure costs involved. However, a Hong Kong company called EPRO Advance Technology (EAT) has developed a way to overcome these difficulties.
EAT’s patented Si+ powder can be stirred into water, causing hydrogen to bubble out. This silicon-based powder is stable at room temperature, making it much easier and safer to transport than compressed hydrogen. Si+ also has the added benefit of being non-toxic, meaning that it can be safely stored near populated areas.
To make the Si+ powder, EAT’s process requires an energy source and metallurgical-grade silicon. The process of converting the powder to hydrogen is conducted at a wide range of ambient temperatures (0-80 degrees Celsius), and all that is left over after the process is completed is silica – the major constituent of sand. The hydrogen can then be used to power devices and vehicles.
At present, weight remains a challenge, with the powder weighing seven times more than the hydrogen it can generate. However, the company is currently piloting its technology and Hong Kong Airport has already shown some interest. EAT claims it is ready to scale up and commercialise the innovation once the right partners are found.
Other hydrogen storage and transportation innovations spotted by Springwise include a project testing whether hydrogen can be transported through natural gas pipelines, a new plan for storing hydrogen underground, and plans for a green hydrogen island connected to offshore hydrogen infrastructure.
Written By: Katrina Lane