Current solutions to the rise in temperature of hydrogen in vehicle tanks are expensive and inefficient, with a highly reliable method for cooling hydrogen between refuelling solutions and hydrogen powered vehicles required.
Awarded 170k of funding by the Department of Transport, NanoSUN's Research & Development Team is working closely with Innovate UK to deliver a cost-effective and appropriate cooling solution that will support operators of hydrogen refuelling stations in the delivery of an efficient and reliable refuelling infrastructure for hydrogen fuel 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, NanoSUN’s cooling method looks to further assist in facilitating the refuelling infrastructure for heavy-duty vehicles 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.
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 hydrogen transport vehicles, such as tube trailers, 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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