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Composite Storage Advancement by Air Products

Air Products (NYSE: APD) research in hydrogen storage has led to a “compression-less hydrogen fueling station” featuring specialized composite cylinders.

This composite storage advancement, developed through joint work and an exclusive supply agreement with Structural Composites Industries, LLC (SCI), significantly lowers the cost of dispensing gaseous hydrogen and fueling station infrastructure by eliminating the need for on-site hydrogen compression. Air Products will launch its first retail compression-less station in 2010 at a location to be announced as part of its California initiative.

The key to the cost effective “compression-less hydrogen fueling station” is a composite pressure vessel (CPV) trailer. The CPV trailer is connected directly to the fuel dispensing unit, making the delivery vehicle an integrated part of the fueling station. The proprietary and certified CPVs are an industry advancement and allow for gaseous hydrogen delivery in greater quantities depending on hydrogen demand. The CPV concept transports hydrogen for fueling at well over 350 bar/5,000 psi and, importantly, can be reliably increased at a station for 700 bar/10,000 psi hydrogen vehicles with greater flexibility and at lesser cost through this advancement.

“This new, low cost concept is game changing technology. It allows hydrogen fueling to be placed on most existing gasoline forecourts thus potentially eliminating the infrastructure issue,” said Ed Kiczek, global director - Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products. “CPV hydrogen delivery becomes more similar to traditional fuels and can mirror the gasoline model. Decreased cost factors including infrastructure, delivery and dispensing of gaseous hydrogen will lower the price tag for hydrogen as an alternative fuel and make it competitive with traditional fuels.”

John Coursen, product manager at SCI said, “SCI’s expertise in storage materials combined with Air Products’ hydrogen experience was critical to solving this infrastructure concern. We continue to work with Air Products to extend the technology capabilities and commercialize these products globally.”

The composite storage and CPV trailer can also be paired to develop and support hydrogen ground storage at retail stations much like the current gasoline model. Air Products has several station concepts incorporating modular and expandable CPV technology and has developed an entire portfolio of global patents and additional patents pending related to the compression-less advancement.

“When combined with Air Products’ patented dual liquid and gaseous hydrogen delivery trailer introduced last year, the system portfolio offers unprecedented value in cost and reliability of supply,” said Kiczek.

The CPV technology is best positioned to take advantage of low cost gaseous hydrogen supply from large hydrogen production plants, pipelines, off-gas hydrogen and renewable sources, and existing liquid hydrogen supply networks serving industrial gas markets. Beyond hydrogen powered transportation vehicles, this application also may offer significant advantages for the material handling and mass transit markets.


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