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EMS develops new H2 storage system targeting refueling stations

20 April 2017

EMS, a German-Dutch engineering company with roots in the nuclear industry, is developing a new hydrogen storage system. The EMS storage solution, designed to store more than 1000 kg H2 at a nominal working pressure of 500 bar, contains high-strength lightweight composite (CFRP) pressure vessels (type 4) which will be embedded in standard containers to serve at H2 fueling stations.

Illustration_ems_develops_new_hydrogen_storage_system

With the new system, EMS will add an innovative solution to the emerging H2 infrastructure business.

Hydrogen will become part of the energy mix of the future, for energy storage as well as for global emission-free mobility. Hydrogen fueling is not only a topic for individual transportation but will be of particular attraction for busses, trains and heavy duty transport applications.

—EMS Managing Director Pieter Folkers

April 20, 2017 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (7)

Comments

A smart way to use standardized small H2 containers for large H2 stations.

The same individual small containers could be used for buses, trucks, locomotives etc.

The minimum refueling pressure for current HFCEVs is 350 bar.  (Some are 700 bar.)

This means that the effective capacity of the "1000 kg" storage unit is really more like 330 kg, and that can only fill a 700-bar vehicle to a bit over 2/3 capacity... if it's full to begin with.  Maybe transfer pumps can fill a fraction of the cylinders to full pressure from the lower ones, if the electric power is available.

Regardless, even if the unit is full, it contains about 1/5 the energy of a typical gasoline tanker.  With the efficiency advantage of the PEMFC this maybe translates to 40% of the range.  You'd need 2.5 cargo container's worth of 500-bar hydrogen cylinders to equal the useful energy in a single gasoline tanker.

I do not see this going well.

@E-P, this is for storage, not particularly for transport. An advantage of H2 is that it can be cheaply produced locally using electricity and water. But production is relatively slow and continuous, or during off-peak periods, while H2 filling of vehicles or H2 consumption is at other moments. You should compare it with battery packs: they are made for storing electricity, not for transporting electricity.
This is a great solution: mass production of standardizef H2-containers will make them very cheap. Assembling a bunch of these in a large (also standardized) assemblage is a very economical solution for buffering H2-production in H2-stations.

I'm not talking about transport, I'm talking about effective energy on hand.  1000 gallons-equivalent of fuel is only about 50 vehicles' worth.  One filling station with 4 islands/16 pumps can easily serve that much in an hour.

A container-sized hydrogen store is not just expensive, it's very small in equivalent size as well.

I doubt that it would be very expensive. Since mass-produced standardized H2-containers are used, it could be quite cheap, and it permits to produce the H2 locally when electricity is cheap and abundant and sell the H2 when the cardrivers want to. It even permits producing electricity and selling back to the grid at peak-hours (if the electrolyser also operates as fuelcell).
Any H2 filling station of the future will have to have a buffer in order to be able to quickly fill the cars, but make H2 continuously (or even preferably at cheap electricity hours).
With electric cars, there is hardly any possibility to buffer, except by stockpiling huge battery packs.

H2 certainly has this "volumetric" disadvantage compared to liquid fuel, but if the containers can be made cheap enough, the convenience of local H2 production may be greater than this disadvantage. The filling stations will have to do the math, but at least now there is an option. The only alternative is huge electrolysers, which will most probably be much more expensive.

Because these are fibre-reinforced polyamides, it should in principle permit very economical mass production.

Electrolytic hydrogen is multiples of the price of SMR.  The idea of power-to-hydrogen from renewables is the current opium dream; the real purpose of the hydrogen car is to give the natural gas industry a lock on vehicle fuel for as long as it lasts.

A mix of BEVs and FCEVs, for small and large vehicles respectively, may be a better solution to replace carbon fuel units.

Since FCEVs have longer extended range and very quick refill capabilities, large H2 stations with plenty of local storage (200 to 300 miles apart) would do as basic H2 network. Electrolysers and more storage tanks could be added as demand increases.

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