Hydrogen tanks for automotive applications are already available but they do not yet fulfil all carmakers’ and customers’ expectations in the view of hydrogen powered vehicles as an alternative to conventional modern ICE-powered vehicles. Also, the current hydrogen business is small hence production is low, cost competitiveness and build-up of a European supply chain are challenging.
Four key challenges have been identified:
1. Achievement of the automotive performance and cost targets for a broader market introduction. This is mainly due to intensive carbon fiber use (quantity, quality and hence cost), conventional manufacturing processes and architectural concepts that are not compatible with mass production. To tackle this challenge, significant advances with respect to mechanical reinforcement, composite architecture optimization and improved designs of compressed overwrapped pressure vessels (COPV) with respect to cost, performance and manufacturing productivity are required.
2. Vessel and ancillary component (tank valve, pressure regulator,…) integration in the vehicle in order to ease assembling and integration procedures, thereby reducing cost and maximizing volume available to the customer.
3. Hydrogen refuelling times truly comparable to those of conventional fuels require an extended temperature range of the COPV. This would also greatly improve the safety margins with respect to temperature overshoot caused by possible malfunctions of the fuelling station. Likewise, being able to extract the maximum hydrogen mass flow regardless of the state of charge (SOC) calls for the ability of the COPV and the complete fuelling system to withstand and/or operate at lower temperatures.
4. Increase the acceptance of COPVs for hydrogen storage in automobile applications by means of offering a higher safety level. It is especially necessary to ensure that COPVs can be transferred into safe mode during thermal incidents.
The consortium should include at least one vessel supplier, one pressure component developer and an OEM. The consortium should build on experience from past projects in the field (at national or European level) in order to push the most promising materials and technologies to a higher TRL/MRL.
TRL at start: 4
TRL at end: 6
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox JRC-PTT-H2SAFETY@ec.europa.eu).
The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 4 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected duration: 3-4 years
The following KPIs are expected to be reached at the tank system level in compliance with the MAWP: