What can sit over a 530C+ flame for 15 minutes, and not burn or rupture? A Type IV storage vessel from Umoe Advanced Composites. My second stop of my tour was in the southern town of Kristiansand, Norway to see the process to manufacture these highly advanced storage vessels, that are coming to our project with H2FA at the end of the year.
Working with hydrogen can be hazardous without safe design and processes; Jørn Kristian Løvdal took me through their facility in Kristiansand to show me how Umoe storage solutions utilise natural properties of glass to provide a strong and safe storage vessel for compressed hydrogen. With glass being such a poor conductor, it is able to be heated considerably (as mentioned) and not see a rapid escalation of pressure like you do with more commonly known steel solutions. The glass fibres are actually coated in resin through application, which also then creates such a strong shell around the plastic inner lining, that being dropped from height, heated, and even over-pressurised does not result in loss of integrity to the vessel (they have been tested to 3x working pressure, before bursting). They feel much like concrete but with a fibrous structure that you would appreciate is very difficult to punch through. In addition to the natural properties, their unique design has shown an ability to go through 24,000 cycles from 30-450 bar with minimal degradation. Storage is one of the big challenges for a hydrogen economy, and I can’t help but believe that Umoe is bringing a very important solution to aid in the conversion.
Apart from the chance to see how these vessels are manufactured, it was great to meet more of the team and hear first hand about their vision for growth, to support the fossil fuel to hydrogen transition. Kristiansand is a very interesting town, and I look forward to getting back in the not too distant future.