Lightweight Tanks Could Liberate Fuel-Cell Car Designers

A German carbon-fiber specialist is claiming to have solved one of the major challenges facing carmakers of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Traditional hydrogen fuel tanks have to be relatively bulky and heavy to cope with the high pressures the compressed gas has to be stored in the vehicle. Now NPROXX has introduced its Type 4 pressure vessel for use in automotive products. It claims it can design, manufacture and supply hydrogen storage for use in a wide range of vehicle types, from mid-sized cars such as saloons, estates, SUVs and the like.

Specially tailored to the automotive industry, it says the tanks achieve a high gravimetric storage density of 6.4 % and can hold compressed hydrogen up to a pressure of 700 bar. With the use of wound carbon fiber, the tanks boast a better storage-to-weight ratio against traditional iron tanks, freeing auto designers to plan and build the next generation of hydrogen vehicles with more fuel and less tank weight on board.

Dietmar Müller, technical director of NPROXX, said: “Our hydrogen tanks are lighter than other competitive products on the market. With four decades of experience in the series production of wound carbon fiber components, we are highly experienced in manufacturing reliable components in CFRP that achieve the same performance with less material usage and the same quality and performance.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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