Home Truck News Forvia’s hydrogen storage solutions energize clean mobility goals - Truck News

Forvia’s hydrogen storage solutions energize clean mobility goals – Truck News

A company is investigating conformable pressure vessels and solid-state storage to accelerate hydrogen usage into the future of clean mobility.

Packing two storage cylinders in a box wastes space. Manufacturing a pressurized vessel that looks like a box adds 30 to 40% capacity, explained Tarek Abdel-Baset, chief engineer – hydrogen storage systems at Faurencia Hydrogen Solutions, part of Forvia. The company has shown a couple of concepts and is working on solutions. 

The further one deviates from a sphere for a pressurized container, the harder it is to produce. “I’m fighting physics to get to something conformable,” Abdel-Baset said.

Picture of Tarek Abdel-Baset and Nick Miller
Tarek Abdel-Baset and Nick Miller at Forvia’s booth during the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Solid state storage, where hydrogen is kept in concentrated amounts in metal hydrides and sorbents, is on the horizon, providing the secondary push to make the technology scalable, accessible and widely used.

Forvia, a full-service provider of agnostic hydrogen storage systems, showcased its cryogenic storage for liquid H2 and H2 storage systems for fuel-cell and H2 internal combustion engine heavy-duty commercial trucks during ACT Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Nick Miller, vice-president, Faurecia hydrogen solutions North America said the focus is on safety and sustainability in the products offered.

The storage systems use carbon fibre and Forvia acquires products with the lowest CO2 content and has set a target to be CO2-neutral by 2045. Use better, use less is the mantra, Miller added.

The company has signed deals with two manufacturers in the U.S. to supply hydrogen storage for commercial trucks. And it is in discussions with retrofit companies in Canada to bring its H2 storage solutions across the border. Forvia uses Canadian facilities to test its products as well.

Captive fleet operators

Abdel-Baset said the first adopters will be captive fleet operators, where trucks return to a facility daily. He sees small operations that will be stepping stones to the future.

New protocols and standards are also helping increase the speed at which trucks can be refueled. The latest protocol allows 10kg of H2 to be pumped per minute into a tank, bringing refuelling times for a highway truck to under 10 minutes.

For carriers, it all boils down to cost. At present, hydrogen is not the cheapest fuel source. But that’s going to change too.

Forvia's hydrogen storage system
Forvia’s hydrogen storage system. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Abdel-Baset predicted proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers that convert electricity and water into hydrogen will be the game changer. Alkaline electrolyzers that are presently used need a steady flow of electricity and are not suited to the radical changes in solar and wind energy.

PEM technology

He said PEM technology is at a turning point and will handle the ups and downs of solar and wind energy. He offered a 2030-ish timeframe where green hydrogen will find parity in cost with other fuel sources.

Another development has been the ability to insert up to 10% hydrogen into natural gas pipeline networks without affecting household furnaces and boilers. The H2 could be extracted and used where needed, providing clean energy in most parts of North America.

“You’re talking about millions of tons of hydrogen in a network that would be more than enough to fuel every vehicle in America with existing infrastructure,” Abdel-Baset said.

Miller said that businesses will embrace this exciting and innovative technology, although there are naysayers. He drew a parallel to when people made the move from horse-drawn carts to the automobile. The safety and performance of sustainable zero-emissions hydrogen technology will eventually attract consumers, he said.

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