New partnership between Steelhead Composites and Graphmatech to develop improved hydrogen storage tanks with graphene
Expected improvements include extreme temperature and pressure.
Uppsala, Sweden — Graphene Flagship Partner Graphmatech in Sweden has teamed up with Steelhead Composites in the US to develop and produce a new high performance type IV pressure vessels to transport and store hydrogen. The partnership combines Steelhead Composites’ leading pressure vessel technology, services and market position, with Graphmatech’s graphene-polymer composites.
Hydrogen is seen as a potential solution to decarbonise the steel and chemicals sectors where electrification is hard to implement, as well as a green fuel for vehicles. However, hydrogen poses engineering challenges: the gas molecules are very small, easily escaping through different types of materials. In addition, hydrogen gas is stored at extremely cold temperatures and high pressure to achieve high density. The temperature drastically changes during re-fuelling, it becomes warmer, so the liner of hydrogen tanks needs to handle these drastic temperature changes well.
Type IV pressure vessels to store hydrogen usually have a plastic liner covered by a carbon-fibre composite material that adds strength, but is prone to leak hydrogen into the atmosphere. Graphmatech devised a composite of polymers and graphene flakes that is less permeable to gas, more electrically and thermally conductive and easier to process in a wide range of manufacturing technologies.
“Partnering with Steelhead Composites is a big step forward in our mission to enable the green transition with graphene. We’re eager to develop and launch this graphene enhanced hydrogen pressure vessel liner together,” says Mamoun Taher, CEO and Founder of Graphmatech.
“As we strive to manufacture and deliver the best hydrogen storage solutions across the globe, we are thrilled to embrace innovative technologies like Graphmatech’s graphene-polymer composites,” says Andrew Coors, CEO of Steelhead Composites.
Kari Hjelt, Head of Innovation of the Graphene Flagship, comments: “I am excited by the progress of this important partnership that aims to use graphene to help the hydrogen economy, tackling the concerning issue of hydrogen leakage. This will make hydrogen storage and transport cheaper, safer and more environmentally-friendly."