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Lightweight Construction

Hydrogen car tanks should become lighter

As part of a research project, the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and industrial partners aim to develop a light and cheap tank for hydrogen vehicles.

26 Sep. 2018
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Hydrogen car tanks should become lighter (Photo: BAM/Thomas Köhler)

In hydrogen-powered electric vehicles, fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity that drives an electric motor. Although the required hydrogen storage units can be filled as quickly as gasoline or diesel vehicle tanks, they are heavy and their production is expensive. A research project within the framework of the BMBF research focus DELFIN (electromobility services - promotion of innovation and user orientation) thus aims to develop a particularly lightweight, low-cost and safe hydrogen tank made of carbon fibers and a plastic liner. In addition to compressed gas cylinder safety expert BAM , this project also includes car manufacturers as well as carbon fiber processing and plastics development experts, such as BMW AG , Elkamet Kunststofftechnik, ETC Ltd. Germany , the Ford plants , ISATEC, NuCellSys and Teijin Carbon Europe . The project is focusing on the "impact load" of hydrogen storage units. The bursting safety of the vehicle tanks after accidents is being tested. The loads on the tanks can be tested with and without gas filling on a new, specially developed test bench.