Omni Tanker, Lockheed Martin and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have joined forces to develop and commercialise world-first composite tank technologies, with support of a grant from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).
Sharing the news on Wednesday, the group said it hopes to utilise two revolutionary home-grown technologies to solve the challenges of using composites for the transportation and storage of liquid hydrogen with applications on ground, in the air, underwater and in space.
It is believed that by combining nano-engineering technology developed by UNSW, in partnership with Lockheed Martin and Omni Tanker’s OmniBIND™ technology, the collaboration will see development of two new operational scale propellant tanks for storing cryogenic liquid fuels for commercial and civil satellite programmes.
Such tankers will be a Type IV fluoropolymer-lined carbon fibre composite tank and a Type V lineless carbon fibre composite tank, both of which are suitable for high pressures and the extreme cryogenic temperatures required for liquid hydrogen and oxygen.
The project builds on a recent invention by the research team at UNSW led by Professor Chun Wang, which enables carbon fibre composites to withstand liquid hydrogen temperatures without matrix cracks – a challenge that has, up until now, prevented mass-market adoption of these materials for such applications.
“This new technology is the result of an outstanding collaboration and partnership between UNSW, Lockheed Martin and Omni Tanker over the past four years. It is wonderful seeing our research achievement is now moving closer towards commercial success and generating social and economic impact in Australia and beyond,” said Professor Wang.
Omni Tanker’s CEO, Daniel Rodgers, added, “This next phase in our collaboration with Lockheed Martin and UNSW is a landmark development that sees Omni Tanker’s seamless thermoplastic lining technology enter the aerospace sector.”
“The OmniBINDTM technology has made inroads to revolutionising the safe and efficient movement of challenging liquids within the chemical transport sector. Now the growing need to decarbonise the energy industry, and the re-usable low-earth-orbit satellite market, have the potential to drive major utilisation for these new technologies.”
“We are excited to work with Lockheed Martin and UNSW on this ground-breaking project, which leverages our patented technology. It is also a credit to the talented Australian engineering team that we have assembled at Omni Tanker,” said Omni Tanker’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr Luke Djukic.
Christopher Hess, Head of Industrial Development, Lockheed Martin Australia acknowledged the support of AMGC and welcomed the opportunity for ongoing collaboration with UNSW and Omni Tanker.
Hess, commented, “Lockheed Martin invests millions of dollars every year into R&D programmes with our Australian industry and research partners to solve real challenges facing our Global Supply Chains.”
“We have had a long- standing research collaboration with UNSW and Omni Tanker, and we are grateful for the support of the AMGC as we now look to commercialise these cutting edge, Australian-developed composite tank technologies for a number of Lockheed Martin and NASA applications.”