Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) logo

Strengthening of the European supply chain for compressed storage systems for transport applications - FCH-01-3-2018
Deadline: Apr 24, 2018  

 Marine and Coast
 Aerospace Technology
 Industrial Manufacturing

Specific Challenge:

Compressed hydrogen tanks are a high-value component of strategic importance for the rollout of fuel cell mobility, but with few suppliers. They could constitute a multibillion market once hydrogen mobility matures and could offer a substantial economic opportunity for Europe. While companies with the background and skills to produce high-pressure tanks do exist in Europe, tank manufacture is currently a bottleneck in the European vehicle supply chain, in particular for buses.
The challenge behind this topic lies therefore in strengthening the European supply chain for compressed hydrogen storage for transport applications by driving competition among various players, which should lead to cost reduction and improved technical performance.
While similar projects have been financed in the past, it is necessary to broaden the number of players (Tier 1 and 2 suppliers) able to develop, produce, test, certify and commercialize the vessels and ancillary hydrogen storage systems, contribute to PNR and RCS development thus creating a market ready competitive environment and cost reduction. To this end the following technical areas challenges are fundamental as regards hydrogen tanks:

  1. Achievement of the application specific (e.g. automotive, rail, maritime, bus, trucks, aeronautic, etc.) performance and cost targets for a broader market introduction. This is mainly due to intensive carbon fibre 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 architectural architecture optimization and improved designs of composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPV) with respect to cost, performance and manufacturing productivity are required.
  2. 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 over temperature overshoot caused by possible malfunctions of the refuelling station. Likewise, being able to extract the maximum hydrogen mass flow independent regardless of the state of charge (SOC) calls for the ability of the COPV and the complete refuelling system to withstand and/or operate at lower temperatures.
  3. Improvement of the intrinsic safety of COPV with respect to the worst-case scenario of TPRD (Thermally Activated Pressure Relief Device) malfunction within fire conditions.

Given the scope of past projects financed by the FCH 2 JU, the topic is open to all transport applications.
The following should fall into the scope of the project:

  • Development of new and/or optimized tank geometries having the same storage performance and providing an enhanced integration in vehicle application space at a comparable price. The storage density of the system at room temperature should be at least 0.03Kg/lL for 700bar or 0.018Kg/lL for 350bar. The cost target for the whole system for a production of 30,000 parts per year basis should be 400€/kg H2 or less;
  • Improve filling and venting tolerance of COPV (e.g. enhanced liner materials and multi-material assembling materials and techniques to increase mechanical and temperature tolerance (e.g. real -40°C H2 filling, - 60°C cold filling, +100⁰C);
  • Development and validation of numerical tools (probabilistic models) to perform automatic or semi-automatic optimization of COPV performance and durability and reduce cost and manufacturing discrepancies;
  • Provide technical and performance validation of prototypes with respect to EU standards (e.g. EC79);
  • Improved safety stemming from demonstration of leak-before-burst vessel designs and fire detection and protection concepts;
  • For protection against the worst-case scenario of the failure of the TPRD, a leak-before-burst vessel design should be developed. In this connection, the failure mechanism of the vessel should be studied and the reliability demonstrated. Furthermore, systems for detecting localized fires, and efficient enhanced fire protection systems/strategies as well as additional security measures are to be evaluated;

TRL at start: 4 and TRL at end: 6.
The proposal is expected to include at least one vessel and/or material supplier, one research institute and an OEM, such that the full supply chain is represented and works towards end customer targets. It is also expected to 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.
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) dedicated mailbox JRC-PTT-H2SAFETY@ec.europa.eu, which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD.
Test activities should collaborate and use the protocols developed by the JRC Harmonisation Roadmap (see section 3.2.B "Collaboration with JRC – Rolling Plan 2018"), in order to benchmark performance of components and allow for comparison across different projects.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution of EUR 2.7 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.
Expected duration: 3-4 years

Expected Impact:
  • Coherent strategy defining the ultimate weight/cost savings achievable with conventional COPV and/or novel geometries and/or novel architecture strategies providing the best trade-off;
  • Improved filling/venting tolerance of storage systems (temperature range: -60°C to +100°C) to sustain fast-filling and unrestricted extraction;
  • Strengthen the European COPV development and supply chain;
  • The following KPIs are expected to be reached at storage system level in compliance with the MAWP:
  • Volumetric capacity: 0.03Kg/lL for 700bar or .0.18Kg/lL for 350bar;
  • Gravimetric capacity: 5,3%;
  • Cost target for a production of 30,000 parts per year basis: 450€/kg H2;

Type of action: Research and Innovation Action
The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter 3.3 and in the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018– 2020 which apply mutatis mutandis.

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