US labs join forces to tackle hydrogen fuelling station cost and reliability

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Sandia National Laboratories have joined forces to reduce costs and improve the reliability of hydrogen fuelling stations, H2 View has learned.

The laboratories aim to do this by identifying materials that ‘won’t break down’.

The Hydrogen Materials Compatibility Consortium – or H-Mat as it known – is conducting early-stage research to understand how hydrogen affects the polymers and metals used in infrastructure to store, transport, compress, and dispense the fuel.

“Put simply, the consortium’s goal is to improve the reliability and durability of materials used in hydrogen infrastructure while also identifying alternative, less expensive materials that reduce equipment replacement cycles and downtime at fuelling stations”

As a small and reactive molecule that can cause materials to behave differently than they would in air, hydrogen’s very nature drives developers to engineer components such as metal tanks, polymer hoses, and seals that can withstand repeated cycling of materials from high to low pressure. Identifying and developing materials that are more resistant to degradation, such as hydrogen embrittlement in metals or blistering and micro cracking in polymers, will increase component lifetimes and reduce maintenance requirements.

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