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Haydale working with Viritech on development of Type 5 hydrogen pressure vessels for Ford-led project

Global technologies and materials group Haydale will contribute to Viritech’s development of fuel cell hydrogen electric vehicles (FCHEVs). Viritech secured a major role in Ford Motor Company’s three-year hydrogen fuel cell E-Transit trial. (Earlier post.)

For the Ford project, Viritech will develop hydrogen pressure vessels using its proprietary integrated mounting system which reduces the cost and weight of fitting hydrogen pressure vessels to a vehicle. Current pressure vessels use external attachments which add weight, complexity and cost. Viritech’s Graph-Pro design integrates the mountings into the structure of the pressure vessel, so they can be bolted directly to the chassis.

In addition, Viritech will lead development of Type 5 hydrogen pressure vessels. These are not yet commercially available, but offer the prospect of a significant weight reduction, due to the removal of the inner tank liner currently used to prevent leakage.

In addition, Ford will test Viritech’s Tri-Volt hydrogen powertrain ecosystem. Unlike other systems which use fuel cells to charge batteries to extend their range, Tri-Volt uses the fuel cell as the prime mover when a vehicle is at a steady speed, and uses very small, high C-rate batteries to manage power during transient conditions (e.g. pulling away from rest or braking). High C-rate batteries are able to charge and discharge far more quickly than conventional batteries and produce much more power for short periods—e.g. a 6KWH battery pack can produce up to 600KW for 20-30 seconds.

The Tri-Volt eco-system is a combination of hardware and software, and includes an ultra-high-performance DC-DC Convertor with an HV bus connecting the fuel cell, battery pack and traction motor. This integrates these components into a single system, removing the need for separate DC-DC convertors for the fuel cell and for the battery pack, saving significant cost and weight.

Haydale will lead the development of new functionalized materials and resins for Type V pressure vessels to support Viritech’s Graph-Pro system. Haydale’s advanced graphene-enhanced carbon fibre material will enable the construction of impermeable pressure vessels.

The FCVGEN2.0 project awarded to Ford will look to design, develop and build a fleet of eight hydrogen fuel cell powered Transit vans. The project is being funded by The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) with £8 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total of £16.3 million.


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