NanoSUN Initiate R&D Project to Devise Reliable Method for Cooling Hydrogen

NanoSUN Research & Development

Following the government’s recent commitment to phase out the sale of new non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles by 2040, subject to consultation, NanoSUN are delighted to announce the launch of its R&D project to design and develop a cost effective process for rapid refuelling of hydrogen road freight vehicles.

Specialising in high pressure, mobile and cost-effective hydrogen refuelling solutions, NanoSUN has already successfully eliminated compressors from its refuellers. Compressors are expensive and unreliable, so elimination has enabled dramatic reduction in the cost of refuelling stations. Now, having recently won vital funding of over £170k from the Department for Transport, NanoSUN’s Research & Development team have initiated a 9 month plan to deliver its highly reliable method for cooling hydrogen between refuelling stations and hydrogen powered vehicles.

NanoSUN’s method looks to further assist in facilitating the refuelling infrastructure for heavy duty vehicles, such as hydrogen trucks, across the UK. Hydrogen is a key, zero-emission fuel which can be used to replace fossil fuels in many applications, including road transport, whereby a low-cost cooling technology for fixed hydrogen infrastructure has potential for disruptive impact and significant acceleration in roll out across the nation.

Hydrogen Trucks

Whilst Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are available in all sizes, the large scale of road freight makes hydrogen, as a lightweight and rapidly rechargeable fuel, an ideal alternative to fossil fuel based vehicles. However, whilst hydrogen is very dense in energy per unit mass, it must be compressed to high pressures (typically 350 or 700 atmospheres) for storage in on-board pressure vessels to reduce its volume sufficiently for practical use in vehicles. This creates a challenge for developers and manufacturers of hydrogen refuelling stations due to the rapid compression of H2 into vehicle tanks causing a rise in the temperature of the gas.

The conventional solutions to this problem are either to fill vehicle tanks very slowly, allowing the compression heat to dissipate through the tank walls; or to use a mechanical refrigeration system to cool the hydrogen in the refueller storage to below ambient temperatures. However, both options are highly undesirable. The first option negates the advantage of using hydrogen to rapidly refuel. The second is expensive and lowers station reliability because, due to their moving parts, chillers can break-down.

In the aim to present a cost effective and appropriate solution, NanoSUN’s scientific experts are now working closely with Innovate UK to validate its technology, to enable rapid commercialisation in the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. This could be deployed both on NanoSUN's mobile Pioneer Hydrogen Refuelling Stations and also conventional, fixed hydrogen refuelling stations located across the nation. 

NanoSUN are committed to establishing and developing new technology and high performing, cutting-edge products to support the hydrogen industry in helping the UK drastically reduce tailpipe emissions and transition to net zero by 2050.

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