Gas containment equipment and services specialist FIBA Technologies has created its largest hydrogen tube trailer yet, with its new Superjumbo trailer capable of transporting between 145,000-150,000 standard cubic feet (scf) of hydrogen.

Compared to conventional trailers which can hold between 125,000-135,000 scf of hydrogen, this latest development enables a payload increase of 20% - a fact that the company says is “significant” for its customers.

Using the longest tubes ever manufactured by FIBA measuring 42 feet in length, the trailer can transport the maximum amount of hydrogen under the 80,000lbs gross vehicle weight (GVW) limit of the US.

gasworld spoke to Chris Finn, Director of Sales at FIBA, to find out more about the Superjumbo hydrogen trailer and what opportunities this might open up for the company.

What can you tell me about the Superjumbo hydrogen trailer’s technological capabilities?

Whilst remaining within the US weight regulations for highway transportation, we increased the Superjumbo trailer’s hydrogen payload by 20%. This was accomplished by a combination of longer and lighter-weight tubes and a UN ISO 11120 specification that results in a higher operating pressure than traditional Department of Transportation (DOT) 3AAX tubes, as well as a 10-year requalification cycle without special permits from the DOT.

Consistent with its goal of maintaining alignment with evolving international standards, the US DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has adopted numerous ISO standards for pressure vessels – and FIBA has strived to pass the benefits of these standards along to its customers.

The Superjumbo trailer is just one part of our hydrogen product line; we are also manufacturing Type II vessels, consisting of steel liners that are overwrapped in the sidewall section with carbon fibers. These Type II pressure vessels provide a 35% weight reduction from FIBA’s steel pressure tubes. More importantly, FIBA’s Type II carbon fibre pressure vessel is the world’s only large volume 15000 pounds per square inch (103 megapascals) hydrogen storage vessel for hydrogen fuelling stations.

Additionally, we will soon offer Type IV vessels which are also known as full composite pressure vessels. FIBA’s Type IV vessels are comprised of a polymer liner that is fully wrapped with high strength carbon fibres. Type IV composite pressure vessels provide a 70% weight reduction from steel vessels. This tremendous weight saving allows FIBA to offer the highest gas capacity trailers in the industry. FIBA’s Type IV pressure vessels offer extremely reliable safety and high pressure cycling life for use in ground storage for hydrogen fuelling stations.

“This tremendous weight saving allows FIBA to offer the highest gas capacity trailers in the industry”

Chris Finn, Director of Sales, FIBA Technologies

Can you talk me through the steps of the manufacturing process?

FIBA engineering regularly analyses pipe specifications to specify just the right length and minimum wall thickness needed for optimal tube weight, water volume and pressure.

Whilst the tubes are being manufactured, we also manufacture the trailer chassis, safety relief devices and many accessories including manifolds and cabinets in the same facility. Each is blasted and coated and then the assembly begins, which concludes with leak testing and moisture analysis to maintain gas quality.

What applications or sectors is the FIBA Superjumbo hydrogen trailer primarily used in?

It is used extensively throughout the US to transport and store large quantities of hydrogen gas that is used for a variety of applications including water creation, metallic ore reduction, atomic hydrogen welding, and fossil fuel processing as well as ammonia and hydrochloric acid production.

Hydrogen is increasingly being used as an alternative fuel because it is a zero-emission fuel when burned with oxygen or used in a contained fuel cell.

With that in mind, what does this milestone mean to the company and what other opportunities might this open up for FIBA?

Each molecule of additional storage and each increase in pressure provides our customers with cost-saving advantages during transportation and distribution of the gas.

A mobile pipeline is relevant to hydrogen as much as it is to compressed natural gas, particularly when the hydrogen is being delivered to fuelling stations. Hydrogen consumption has grown 30% per year since 2010 and FIBA has helped make that growth happen worldwide.

Superjumbo trailer fiba technologies cropped

Source: FIBA Technologies