Hydrogen is increasingly becoming an alternative to traditional energy sources, and composites provide a safe method of carrying high-pressure hydrogen and other gases that is economical and effective. The effort to develop storage vessels at higher pressures would further increase the economics of hydrogen storage and transportation. Composite Conference 2012 will include industry and government leaders with expertise in hydrogen and composites to continue learning how to improve composite technology.
Funding for hydrogen storage research continues to roll in, such as the recent DOE funding reported in Composites Today. The DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells website also contains more info on research, funding, and resources such as databases and more.
Hydrogen has several strong points: it is lightweight and provides higher energy density than traditional gasoline. Another clear advantages of hydrogen is the by-products of the combustion processes. Gas produces pollutants while hydrogen’s combustion merely produces water. One of the remaining problems currently slowing down hydrogen’s ability to saturate the energy market is that with hydrogen it is hard to store and transport in economical scales.
Currently storage methods do allow transport and delivery of hydrogen in tanks and pipeline systems but the expansion required for serious market penetration is enormous. Hydrogen has such a low density that storage of compressed hydrogen is very difficult to maintain without compromising the energy efficiency saved. In order to cut down on the efficiency losses, high-strength composites continue to provide the most economical option for the storage of hydrogen in all its applications.