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US Naval Surface Warfare Center Soliciting R&D Projects on Solid-State Hydrogen Storage

The US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) are soliciting research projects to identify novel materials and processes that can provide potential breakthroughs in solid-state hydrogen storage and accelerate the adoption of these technologies by the military.

Many military applications require hydrogen storage and generation systems to be situated in confined spaces or battlefield environments (dust, broad temperature range, sea salt atmosphere, etc.). The objectives of the research program are to significantly increase the readiness of advanced hydrogen storage approaches (including solid-state hydrogen storage materials and systems) and to integrate advanced hydrogen storage systems into vehicles.

Specific areas of interest in the Broad Agency Announcement outlining the solicitation include, but are not limited to, the design, fabrication and demonstration of sub-scale prototype systems utilizing advanced hydrogen storage approaches for Defense applications.

The advanced approaches may include, but are not limited to:

  • Adsorbents (including the development and use of near-room temperature based doped sorbents);

  • Metal hydrides;

  • Chemical hydrides (liquids or solids); and

  • Advanced physical storage (e.g., cryo-compressed systems or novel concepts beyond conventional high pressure or cryogenic hydrogen tanks).

Storage systems should include all system components necessary for charge and discharge operation including thermal management, reactant flow control, humidification, etc., and that have the following characteristics:

  • Storage capacity in the range from 0.1 kg to less than 1 kg of hydrogen;

  • Maximum storage pressure of less than 350 atmospheres to be consistent with current 5,000 psi compressed gas infrastructure, preferably less than 200 atmospheres to avoid the requirement for 5,000 psi tank systems.

  • Moderate temperature of discharge (less than 150°C).

  • Discharge rate adequate to power fuel cell stack with between 0.5 kW and 5 kW peak power.

  • Reversible approaches are preferred that allow rapid charging and discharging of hydrogen storage tanks with minimal waste disposal requirements.

Funding for all awards is a total $1.5 million for 2008, with additional funding subject to appropriations. NSWC expects awards to range between $500,000 and $1,500,000. Proposals may be basic research, applied research, or advanced technology development not related to the development of a specific system or hardware procurement. However, in all cases, applicants should demonstrate that their proposed effort is aimed at high-payoff technologies that have the potential for making, in the 5-10 year timeframe, significant improvements to national security and military operations.

Proposals are due on 23 May 2008.

NSWC and DLA are coordinating hydrogen storage development efforts with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s hydrogen storage activities and the National Hydrogen Storage Project.



Ignore for a second what you might think about hydrogen power or hydrogen as a fuel source and ask yourself "If they really believe in or want this technology is at total award of 1.5 million really going to get them much of anything?" If the awards are in the 500 grand range that's 3 awards and if it's more they buy even less. For advanced R&D systems like this that 1.5 big bills aren't going to stretch very far. My guess is they need to up that by a factor of 10 to get the kind of tech their looking for even on a proof of concept scale. $1.5 mill for design, fab and demo of advanced storage concepts? Of the leakiest, smallest molecule in the chemical inventory? For use in adverse military situations, under heat and stress conditions?
I just don't see this as a reasonable award amount.


Store it as methane. Either compressed or liquefied. Liquid methane has the 70% of the energy density by volume of JP-8, and 125% of the energy density by weight (an important aspect when applied to aircraft). It could be synthesized aboard aircraft carriers via electrolysis of water and the Sabatier reaction using CO2 pulled from the ambient air or from other sources.

The energy needed to liquefy methane is small; less than 5% of the energy content of the cooled fuel.

References: JP-8 130,000 BTUs per gallon, 19,000 BTUs per pound

Liquid Methane 24,000 BTUs per pound, 3.865 pounds per gallon,
92,600 BTUs per gallon.


"Funding for all awards is a total $1.5 million for 2008, with additional funding subject to appropriations. NSWC expects awards to range between $500,000 and $1,500,000. Proposals may be basic research, applied research, or advanced technology development not related to the development of a specific system or hardware procurement."

____This is a lure. To start the engine and shift it out of park, if you will.

From the link:
"NSWC Crane reserves the right to entertain larger proposals based on the availability of funds."

____This is where you get more. It also gives them something to go to their superiors, and their superiors to Congress with when they ask for additional funding.

Healthy Breaze

"Liquid methane has the 70% of the energy density by volume of JP-8, and 125% of the energy density by weight "

Ah, but volume matters. A couple decades ago the national aerospace plan planned to use Hydrogen for fuel, and after much modeling they realized they couldn't pack enough energy into the space available for tanks because, light as it was, it was too bulky for the energy content.



Yes, volume matters. But hydrogen, even liquid hydrogen, is far bulkier than liquid methane. Compared with JP-8, Liquid Hydrogen has only 23% of the volumetric energy density, only 30,000 BTUs per gallon. Liquid methane is 3X better than liquid hydrogen in terms of bulkiness.

The cooling requirements of liquid hydrogen are also more severe than liquid methane, as up to 50% of the energy store needs to be devoted to liquefaction.


I see few of you paid attensopn. Its dealing with tiny power units and likely needs the properties of a fuelcell to do its job. It also involves only a small amount of fuel.. 2to 20 kwh worth.

Methane likely fails becaise in vonversion to power in those size ranges its going to be massively inefficent and produce alot of waste heat and noise.



Like many of these DOE/DOD solicitations, the specifics of the request makes little sense when teased out. Efficiency is of minor concern for power needs this small. Overall energy density would be (or should be). Existing methane fuel cell technology could definitely handle the low end, and existing methane diesel technology could handle the high end, both with extreme reliability. Only possible reason for hydrogen fuel cells is low noise (unlikely) combined with environmental (no CO2 emissions) but the system in any case would vent water vapor and obviously needs an oxygen source.

This most likely is a solicitation is meet a requirement for a program which has been given no thorough system analysis. If it had, they'd have realized that hydrogen makes no sense for this or most other applications.

Where does hydrogen as an energy carrier make sense? When the energy harvested (to produce the hydrogen) needs to be stored for 5-20 days (or thereabouts). Any longer than that, methane makes more sense as a carrier. Any shorter than that, batteries start to become more reasonable.


Jim it makes perfect sence.

The specs are 500 to 5000 watts and aeound 2-2.5kwh to near 25kwh.

Now methane fc could do that.. but even the smallest unit would be belting out a space heater level heat sig for 4 frealimg hours.

A bsttery.. try more then 50lb.
But with h2.. a single small 75 eff fc and a TINY easy to swap out fueltank. With CURRENT sorbant tech a .1 kg tak of h2 should be about the weight of an ammo clip and as easy to swap.

Healthy Breaze

So...years ago I read about research efforts to create "metalic hydrogen." The idea was to compress H2 with 2 million pounds of pressure until it cured into a room-temperature solid form. I assumed it would be unstable.

I never heard if they succeeded.

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