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Element Materials Technology, a global independent materials testing company, is undertaking a major research project from its Element Hitchin (formerly MERL) UK laboratory on thermoplastic high-pressure hydrogen storage vessels for fuel cell vehicles.
The ‘HOST’ (Hydrogen-Optimization of Storage and Transfer) project is part-funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board (UK TSB) and awarded to a consortium of industry experts for developing hydrogen barrier thermoplastics.
HOST encompasses the design and development of an efficient automated filament winding and advanced fiber tape placement facility, as well as the development of innovative thermoplastic composite prepreg tapes manufactured to provide the best balance of technical and economical efficiencies. The partners for the project are Element Hitchin, EPL Composite Solutions, Crompton Mouldings, JRE Precision (Presreg Valves) and Jonam Composites Ltd.
On the project, Chris LaMothe, Element’s Executive Vice President, Transportation and Industrials, says: “HOST will ensure Element remains at the forefront of fuel cell vehicle testing and development in the transportation industry. By providing the entire project testing capabilities, including static and dynamic pressure testing of the final vessels, we will play both a vital role in this project and build on our previous success with the UK TSB.”
This is the second UK TSB project undertaken by Element Hitchin in this technical area, having been involved in its ‘Durastor’ project consortium’s development of a monolithic hydrogen storage vessel that incorporates a thermoplastic liner with a filament wound outer layer.
During this project Element Hitchin performed high-pressure permeation tests using hydrogen for the roto-molded liner samples, mechanical tests (quasi-static and fatigue) on all materials, accelerated ageing tests and rapid gas decompression (RGD) tests to assess the effects of rapid depressurization on the liner materials. The low-cost, high-pressure (350-700 bar) gaseous hydrogen storage vessel was developed in collaboration with EPL Composite Solutions, Delta Motorsport, Crompton Mouldings, Celanese (formerly Ticona), CTG-UTC Aerospace Systems and Oxford Brookes University. It is intended for the automotive market, with improved fatigue performance and is fully recyclable at end of life.
Element’s involvement with the HOST project, which has a total project budget of £1million, will last two years.
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