Air Products’ ongoing research into hydrogen storage has led to the discovery of a ‘compression-less hydrogen fuelling station’ using specialised composite cylinders.
The technology was discovered in co-ordination with Structural Composites Industries, LLC (SCI) and significantly lowers the cost of dispensing gaseous hydrogen and fuelling station infrastructure by eliminating the need for on-site hydrogen compression. Air Products will launch its first retail compression-less station in 2010 as part of its California initiative.
Ed Kiczek, Global Director of Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products, stated, “This new, low cost concept is game changing technology. It allows hydrogen fuelling to be placed on most existing gasoline forecourts thus potentially eliminating the infrastructure issue.”
Kiczek explained the importance of hydrogen becoming standardised with conventional fuels, “Decreased cost factors including infrastructure, delivery and dispensing of gaseous hydrogen will lower the price tag for hydrogen as an alternative fuel and make it competitive with traditional fuels.”
The key to the new technology is a composite pressure vessel (CPV) trailer. Since the CPV trailer is connected directly to the fuel dispensing unit, the delivery is an integrated part of the fueling station. The CPV solution transports hydrogen for fuelling at well over 350 bar/5,000psi and can be reliably increased at a station for 700 bar/10,000psi hydrogen vehicles.
John Coursen, Product Manager at SCI described his firm’s involvement, “SCI’s expertise in storage materials combined with Air Products’ hydrogen experience was critical to solving this infrastructure concern. We continue to work with Air Products to extend the technology capabilities and commercialise these products globally.”
Another benefit of the composite storage and CPV trailer is that it may be paired to develop and support hydrogen ground storage at retail stations – in a similar way as the current gasoline model. Air Products offers several station concepts incorporating modular and expandable CPV technology and has developed a portfolio of patents related to the compression-less advancement. Kiczek concluded by summarising the company’s new hydrogen solution, “When combined with Air Products’ patented dual liquid and gaseous hydrogen delivery trailer introduced last year, the system portfolio offers unprecedented value in cost and reliability of supply.”