BlackPak awarded $4.6M ARPA-E project for container-less natural gas fuel tank technology development
The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded BlackPak, Inc., a private technology company developing innovative packaging solutions for natural gas fuel sources, a $4.6-million cooperative agreement for the development of its natural gas fuel tank technology under ARPA-E’s Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE) Program.
Under the ARPA-E award, Blackpak will use high-strength, high-surface-area carbon to develop a sorbent-based natural gas storage vessel in which the sorbent itself is the container, eliminating the external pressure vessel altogether. BlackPak, together with its partners, ATMI, Inc. and SRI International, is developing adsorbed natural gas storage systems for automotive and commercial applications with a target system-level energy density greater than 6 MJ/L at 500 psi pressure.
This design could store natural gas at comparable or lower weight and smaller size than conventional compressed gas tanks while reducing the pressure of the natural gas in the vehicle tank. By reducing tank pressure, the system will enable home vehicle refueling at greatly reduced complexity and cost, making these systems accessible to the general public.
In addition, the container-less storage system can be easily formed into a range of shapes, allowing automobile designers to seamlessly integrate the natural gas storage into the vehicle design, without sacrificing passenger space.
The BlackPak effort leverages technology developed and spun out from SRI International as part of a prior award under the MOVE program. (Earlier post.)
The BlackPak system under development also targets a significantly lower overall cost and can significantly improve the return on investment potential for light duty natural gas vehicles and similar applications. Low-pressure storage also has the potential to drastically reduce the upfront capital expenditure and operating cost of such systems, as well as simplify the requirements for tank filling appliances, further improving the comparative economics of adsorbed natural gas systems relative to compressed natural gas, gasoline, and diesel.
BlackPak was co-founded by ATMI, InnerProduct Partners, and SRI International.
ATMI is a global technology company providing specialty materials, material processing and safe, high-purity materials handling and delivery solutions designed to increase process efficiencies for the microelectronics and other industries.
InnerProduct Partners is a specialized fund manager supporting an underserved market for early-stage US-based technology companies in IT, Materials, Energy, and Healthcare.
SRI International is a nonprofit research and innovation center headquartered in Silicon Valley.