The use of hydrogen as a fuel source is becoming increasingly popular as we shift towards renewable energy sources. However, the safe and efficient storage of hydrogen is a major challenge, as it needs to be stored under high pressure. In this video, we will explore the different types of tanks used to store hydrogen under pressure, the technological differences between them, and their advantages.
What is a hydrogen tank?
A hydrogen tank is a specialized container designed to store hydrogen in either gaseous or liquid form. It may also be referred to as a hydrogen cylinder, cartridge, or canister. The construction of a hydrogen tank must meet stringent physical requirements based on the pressure and temperature of storage. This has led to continuous innovation in the design and manufacturing of these tanks. Hydrogen fuel tanks are used in a variety of applications, including fuel cell and electrolyzer systems, rockets, and space flight. Typically, a hydrogen fuel tank is part of a larger hydrogen storage system.
Types of Hydrogen Tanks
There are five types of gas tanks that can be used for both stationary and mobile applications to store hydrogen.
This is the most common gas tank, which is a simple cylinder made of steel. The operating pressure is from 200 to 300 bar, and it is typically used for industrial applications. The density of such a type 1 storage is around 15 grams per liter.
This type of tank is an improvement over type 1, as it has additional fiberglass reinforcement on the outside, which increases its stability and allows gas storage at a higher pressure. The operating pressure for this tank is typically 100 to 500 bars, and it is mainly used in industrial applications. The density of hydrogen in a type 2 tank is around 20 grams per liter.
This is where the interesting tanks for hydrogen begin. The inner liner of this tank is made of aluminum, and it is often found in vehicles. Type 3 tanks can store hydrogen at pressures up to 350 bar, and the typical density is 25 grams per liter.
This type of tank is a further development of the type 3 tank, with a plastic bladder inside to seal off the hydrogen. This allows for greater expansion than the aluminum liner and enables the tank to contain a higher pressure of hydrogen, leading to a higher density, typically around 40 grams per liter at an operating pressure of up to 875 bar. Type 4 tanks are commonly used in the passenger car and heavy-duty commercial vehicle sectors.
This is the most exotic type of hydrogen storage tank and has no inside bladder, polyamide, or aluminum. The matrix that makes the gas seal is the only component, which presents a significant challenge with hydrogen as it can migrate through even the dense matrices. The density of hydrogen in a type 5 tank is around 20 grams per liter.
Advantages and Applications
The main differences between the five types of tanks are in the materials used to manufacture them. For mobile applications of hydrogen, the Type 4 tank is commonly used because it provides the highest storage density, making it ideal for passenger cars and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
Hydrogen tanks come in different types and have varying technological differences and advantages. The type of tank chosen depends on the application and the desired storage density. As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, the efficient and safe storage of hydrogen will become increasingly important.