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Lincoln Composites to Provide GTI with Composite Tuffshell Fuel Tanks

29 April 2005

Lincoln Composites, Inc., a subsidiary of Hexagon Composites ASA has been selected by Gas Technology Institute (GTI) to provide all-composite high pressure storage tanks for two hydrogen fuelling applications.

The 7000 psi (483 bar) all-composite, Type IV Tuffshell fuel tanks will be produced in the Lincoln, Nebraska manufacturing facility for delivery in May 2005.

The Tuffshell tanks produced by Lincoln Composites are manufactured using a computer controlled, high-speed filament winding process. The tanks have a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liner that offers improved resistance to corrosion, stress cracking and cyclic fatigue. The patented interlocking liner to boss interface provides a leak proof seal between the plastic liner and the metal end bosses.

Gas Technology Institute is working on a project in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to produce two hydrogen fuelling stations: a stationary 50 kg/day, high pressure hydrogen fuelling station using reformed natural gas, and a trailer-mounted portable fuelling station for short-term hydrogen vehicle demonstration activities.

An important component of a gaseous fuelling station design is the high pressure gas storage system. A fuelling station used to fill hydrogen vehicles to 5000 psi (350 bar) requires a storage system operating at higher pressures. Tuffshell tanks were selected for this application, as they are capable of high operating pressures while providing the cycle life necessary for a fuelling station.

The tanks used for the GTI Application have a structural shell wound from a hybrid of high strength carbon fibre blended with tough glass filaments. The company state that combining these fibres with their proprietary epoxy resin system provides ""outstanding toughness and durability"".

According to William Dick, President of Lincoln Composites, ""A 5000 psi Tuffshell tank was recently subjected to over 500,000 cycles at 125 percent of service pressure. This type of testing demonstrates the benefits of our Tuffshell technology as it relates to cycle life, durability and performance.""

""Lincoln Composites' high-pressure hydrogen containers look attractive for hydrogen storage,"" says Bill Liss, Director of Hydrogen Energy Systems at GTI. ""For stationary uses, the largest pressure vessels are price competitive with steel and lower than alternative composite storage vessels. For the portable hydrogen station, the combination of price and lightweight make the Lincoln containers attractive.""

Metal liner technologies require increased weight and cost to improve cycle life. Lincoln Composites Tuffshell tanks claim to provide high cycle performance while maintaining their lightweight properties and low cost, a critical aspect when considering the transportation of hydrogen gas.

“When the goal is to transport hydrogen fuel as opposed to heavy metal tanks, our Tuffshell tanks are the optimal and most cost-effective solution. Our tanks are more competitive than metal lined tanks in weight, cost, and cycle life; hydrogen fueling stations are an ideal use for our technology,"" stated William Dick.

The image shows a hydrogen tank roof pack.





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