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Improvement of compressed storage systems and related manufacturing processes in the perspective of automotive mass production
Deadline: 03 May 2016   CALL EXPIRED

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Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Hydrogen tanks for automotive applications are already available but they do not yet fulfill all carmakers’ expectations in the view of a mass production of hydrogen powered vehicles.

Four key challenges have been identified:

  • Achievement of the automotive cost targets for a broader market introduction. This is mainly due to carbon fiber costs, conventional manufacturing processes not developed for high productivity and architecture concepts that are not compatible with mass production. To tackle this challenge, significant advances with respect to mechanical reinforcement, architectural optimization and compressed overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) manufacturing are required.
  • Vessel and ancillary component (tank valve, pressure regulator) integration in the vehicle in order to ease assembling procedures and maximize customer available volume.
  • Hydrogen refuelling times truly comparable to those of conventional fuels require an extended temperature range of the COPV. Likewise being able to extract the maximum hydrogen mass flow independent of the state of charge (SOC) calls for the ability of the COPV and the complete fueling system to operate at lower temperatures.
  • Increase the acceptance of COPVs for hydrogen storage in automobile applications by means of a higher safety level. It is necessary to ensure, that COPVs can be transferred into safe mode during thermal incidents.
  • Scope:
    • Development of new and/or optimized tank geometries having the same storage performances and providing an enhanced integration in the car space at comparable price.
    • Define standardized interfaces and objects in order to gain from the economy of scales.
    • 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, +100°C).
    • Development and assessment of COPV innovative and flexible manufacturing processes for very large production capacity (objective to decrease the manufacturing time by a factor of 3)
    • Development of a cost-reduction strategy (increased materials efficiency, weight and volume reduction, manufacturing optimization, cost-efficient storage geometries/designs)
    • Miniaturization and integration of tank components, e.g. on-tank valve, pressure regulator
    • Development and validation of numerical tools (probabilistic models) to optimize COPV performance and durability and reduce cost and manufacturing discrepancies
    • Provide input to revised regulation codes and standards for storage tanks for compressed hydrogen.
    • For the 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 has to be studied. Furthermore, systems for detecting local fires and efficient fire protection systems as additional security measures are to be evaluated.

    TRL at start: 4

    TRL at end: 6

    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 higher TRL/MRL.

    The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 3 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

    A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.

    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.
    • Development of new automated and flexible manufacturing processes, equipment and tools in coherence with mass manufacturing with a significant impact on:
      • COPV manufacturing yield (target: Increase productivity by a factor of 3)
      • Reduced performance scattering (Standard deviation of burst pressure reduced by 30%)
    • Improved filling/venting tolerance of storage systems (temperature range: -60°C to +100°C) to sustain fast-filling and unrestricted extraction.
    • Provide technical and performance validation of prototypes with respect to EU standards (e.g. EC79)
    • Produce whitepapers for RCS and/or maintenance guidance
    • Demonstrate leak-before-burst vessel designs and fire detection and protection concepts.

    The following KPIs are expected to be reached at the tank system level in compliance with the MAWP:

    • Volumetric capacity: 0.023Kg/l (2020)
    • Gravimetric capacity: 5%

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