Earlier this week, one of the readers of this blog, Nute, had made a comment on another section of this blog in November about the possible use of hydrogen slurries to aid in the development of the fledgling H2 infrastructure. I would like to follow up on this today.
A hydrogen slurry is a liquid chemical compound that is relatively safe, can be stored at room temperature and can be pumped, poured and transported like any other liquid. Liquid hydrogen slurry such as magnesium hydride (MgH2) or lithium hydride (LiH) could be used in either a centralized or decentralized fueling infrastructure.
Since MgH2 is cheaper, a company like Safe Hydrogen has been testing this hydrogen slurry with the help of the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE). The MgH2 slurry is combined with water to create hydrogen gas and the byproduct is Mg(OH)2, also known as Milk of Magnesia.
This Milk of Magnesia is an inert compound the can be easily recycled back into magnesium hydride. One of the advantages that hydrogen slurry has over super-cooled liquid hydrogen is that it has almost double the energy density. Another advantage is that hydrogen slurry is much cheaper to produce and requires much less energy than super-cooling liquid hydrogen.
Hydrogen slurry can be pumped into a hydrogen ICE or fuel cell car with onboard reformation into pure hydrogen and the byproduct pumped out later for recycling. Or, a more consumer-friendly method would be that the hydrogen slurry could be reformed at the fueling station into pure hydrogen, pumped into the car and the fuel station could recycle the hydrogen slurry byproduct.
With the state that the economy is in today, we are going to need more Milk of Magnesia to get us through. Why not create hydrogen along the way as a means to cleaner skies, more oil independence and increased jobs in this emerging marketplace? This idea won’t be that hard to digest.