Yesterday, I was contacted by Michael Jehan from MCP technologies who said his company has developed a novel magnesium hydride storage solution for hydrogen to be used in automobiles with internal combustion engines (ICE). The MgH2 solution uses nano-structure powders to absorb the hydrogen then release it as needed for the vehicle.
I asked Mr. Jehan why he wished to develop hydrogen storage for ICE vehicles instead of fuel cell vehicles.
Mr. Jehan replied, “We want to develop our tank for ICE engines because we recover a part of the lost thermal energy from engine exhaust to heat our doped MgH2 to release H2. Obviously, it can feed also fuel cells but must be heated (This could be a solution for high temperature fuel cells).
Thermodynamics of MgH2 hydrides cannot be changed. MgH2 works perfectly and is fully reversible but must be heated at 250-degrees C. We have included in the tanks a special FeTi or ternary Ti/V/Cr patented based alloy hydride to feed for starting the engine.
This is a great advantage because MgH2 hydrides are really safe, without heat and no release of H2 in air. We have patented a compound, which can be handle in air to load the tank. Magnesium is cheap and really abundant on earth. It is not the case of other hydrides as LaNI5 based hydrides.
After usage, Mg is fully recyclable. We produce more than 500 metric tons per month of Mg powders for hot metal desulphurization and we just produce 20-percent of the EC needs. On the other hand, at the opposite loading, H2 to our magnesium plus catalyst elements produces large quantity of heat (exothermic reaction) and that heat could be recovered from the loading plant to heat buildings.
Our idea is to develop special light tanks (a kind of cassette) which will be extracted and replaced easily in the cars. Reloading the cassette will be done (as easy as butane gas) in the H2 plant. H2 stations will be only a distributor of H2 tanks.
People speaking about H2 stations have not calculated the incidence of cost to compress H2 in static large tank storage and the cost of the investment of the bottles plus the risks when in town. We are on the way to creating a pilot plant in France and if possible a second one in USA.”