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Hydrogen Storage in Glass Capillary Arrays for Portable and Mobile Systems


A crucial problem of new hydrogen technologies is the lightweight and also safe storage of acceptable amounts of hydrogen for portable or mobile applications. A new and innovative technology based on capillary arrays has been developed. These systems ensure safe infusion, storage, and controlled release of hydrogen gas, although storage pressures up to 1200 bar are applied. This technology enables the storage of a significantly greater amount of hydrogen than other approaches. In storage tests with first capillary arrays a gravimetric storage capacity of about 33% and a volumetric capacity of 28% was determined at a comparative low pressure of only 400 bar. This is much more than the actual published storage capacities which are to find for other storage systems. This result already surpassed the US Department of Energy's 2010 target, and it is expected to meet the DOE's 2015 target in the near future.
Different safety aspects have been evaluated. On the one hand experiments with single capillaries or arrays of them have been carried out. The capillaries are made of quartz and other glasses. Especially quartz has a three times higher strength than steel. At the same time the density is about three times lower which means that much less material is necessary to reach the same pressure resistance. The pressure resistance of single capillaries has been determined in dependence of capillary materials and dimensions, wall thickness etc. in order to find out optimal parameters for the “final” capillaries. In these tests also the sudden release of hydrogen was tested in order to observe possible spontaneous ignitions. On the other hand a theoretical evaluation of explosion hazards was done. Different situations were analyzed e.g. release of hydrogen by diffusion or sudden rupture.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: Germany ; Switzerland

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