The US Energy Department announced $7 million in funding for six projects to develop lightweight, compact, and inexpensive advanced hydrogen storage systems that will enable longer driving ranges and help make fuel cell systems competitive for different platforms and sizes of vehicles.
These advances in hydrogen storage will be critical to the widespread commercialisation of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Out of the $7 million, $4.4 million has been invested into companies that will look into lower cost composite material solutions;
Materia has been awarded $2 million to leverage its resin’s unique properties and reduce the amount of carbon fibre required in pressure vessels. The company say that reducing the amount of carbon fibre required in hydrogen tanks will substantially lower manufacturing costs and hasten market adoption of fuel cell-based cars, buses, and trucks.
PPG Industries of Greensboro, North Carolina will receive $1.2 million to demonstrate a novel high strength glass fibre that is stronger than the carbon fibres used today at half of the cost.
Sandia National Laboratories of Livermore, California will receive $1.2 million to systematically screen low cost alternative materials for use in hydrogen storage systems.
On-board hydrogen storage for transportation applications continues to be one of the most technically challenging barriers to the widespread commercialisation of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. The EERE hydrogen storage activity focuses primarily on the applied research and development (R&D) of low-pressure, materials-based technologies to allow for a driving range of more than 300 miles (500 km) while meeting packaging, cost, safety, and performance requirements to be competitive with current vehicles. While automakers have recently demonstrated progress with some prototype vehicles traveling more than 300 miles on a single fill, this driving range must be achievable across different vehicle models and without compromising space, performance, or cost. In addition, hydrogen storage will be needed for both other niche vehicular applications and off-board uses such as for stationary power generation and for hydrogen delivery and refuelling infrastructure.