Magnesium Hydrolysis

MgH2 can provide an inexpensive and efficient hydrogen generation method through hydrolysis, with very high hydrogen capacity and benign by-products (magnesium hydroxide or “milk of magnesia”).

MgH2 + 2H2O ⇒ Mg(OH)2 + 2H2

Theoretically hydrolysis reaction of MgH2 can provide 6.4 wt.% of hydrogen (including water weight), and when water is not taken into calculation – as much as 15.2 wt.%.

As a very important practical factor, magnesium is abundant and is one of the least expensive, most industrially available metals.

Catalyzed MgH2 forms a suspension in water giving a vigorous reaction with generation of hydrogen gas. In contrast, non-catalyzed magnesium hydride is stable in water and does not easily react.


A series of diffraction patterns illustrates hydrolysis of magnesium hydride. The first two spectra represent commercial MgH2 before and after the hydrolysis, without any noticeable change in the powder. The next diffraction pattern shows the structure of the catalyzed magnesium hydride, which has transformed into magnesium hydroxide after hydrolysis.

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