Mitsui, Toray and Hexagon Lincoln a subsidiary of Hexagon Composites ASA have entered into a joint development agreement to conduct a viability study into the joint manufacture and supply of carbon fibre reinforced high-pressure hydrogen cylinders for vehicles in Japan.
The longterm aim of the venture is to manufacture high-pressure hydrogen carbon fibre cylinders for fuel cell vehicles in the Japanese market, a world leader in the transition to hydrogen-based energy.
The plan would integrate and leverage the high-pressure cylinder manufacturing technology of Hexagon Composites, a leading manufacturer of carbon fibre-reinforced high-pressure cylinders, the comprehensive capabilities of Mitsui, including its customer assets and marketing know-how, and the capacity of Toray to supply competitive, high-quality carbon fibre and develop new technologies.
The development of lighter parts and materials to reduce energy consumption by transportation equipment, especially in motor vehicles, is seen as an important approach to the solution of this problem. The market for lightweight materials, such as carbon fibre, is expected to expand rapidly.
Hexagon Lincoln, Mitsui, and Toray are motivated to contribute to the Japanese government plans to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the starting point for the creation of a hydrogen society by commencing domestic production of high-pressure hydrogen cylinders as functional components for these fuel cell vehicles.