Nanomaterials Aiming to Advance LCV Hydrogen Fuel Cells

A closer relationship between two companies is hoping to accelerate the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell powertrains for light commercial vehicles.

Hydrogen powertrain specialist Viritech has announced that it is extending its cooperation with Haydale, a global leader in commercially applicable graphene-enhanced nanomaterials. The two companies will work together on solutions for hydrogen pressure vessels for the automotive industry, initially focusing on LCVs.

This increased cooperation comes at a time when the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has published a report which highlights that by 2030, fuel cell electric vans will offer a total cost of ownership (TCO) lower than that of battery-electric vans, for working days where the vehicle travels more than 300 miles. Typically an LCV on more than one shift a day would be a prime example.

The companies say they will be focusing on Type V unlined pressure vessels, hoping to develop the most efficient vehicle storage system for gaseous hydrogen. This technology could have a wide application, including to the automotive, aerospace and marine industries, with immediate use in the emerging market for fuel cell vans.

The project will entail the development of new materials and resins for Type V pressure vessels, delivering considerable weight savings and removing the need for an inner liner, which is currently required in composite pressure vessels to act as an impermeable barrier. Instead, the companies plan using advanced graphene-enhanced carbon fiber material.

In addition, Viritech will be further developing its Graph-ProTM structural pressure vessels, which include fixing points which attach directly to a vehicle chassis, meaning no separate attachments or frames are required. This simplifies the installation of pressure vessels and saves considerable weight.

Timothy Lyons, CEO of Viritech, said: “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with Haydale. With hydrogen’s growing emergence as a key pilar in the road to ‘Sustainable Transportation’ vehicle manufacturers are starting to design their first series-production fuel cell vehicles, and working together, our two companies are ideally placed to capitalize on one of the most important growth markets of the next two decades.”

Keith Broadbent, CEO of Haydale, added: “We are pleased to be continuing our work with Viritech, and, together, be leading the way with ground-breaking hydrogen pressure vessel designs. Our expertise in functionalized nano materials alongside Viritech’s pioneering approach to fuel cell vehicles is an exciting step forward in providing the technology for this growing market.”

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *