Hydrogen energy offers great promise as an energy alternative. Hydrogen technologies can reduce and eliminate the release of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel combustion, the main cause of global warming. One of the main challenges is hydrogen storage. Storing hydrogen in the solid-state hydride form holds a volumetric advantage over compressed and liquid hydrogen states. Solid hydrogen storage systems also have features of low-pressure operation, compactness, safety, tailorable delivery pressure, excellent absorption /desorption kinetics, modular design for easy scalability, and long cycle life.
In this paper, solid hydrogen storage systems (such as portable power canisters, lightweight fiber wrapped vessels, and aluminum tubular vessels, developed by Texaco Ovonic Hydrogen Systems LLC) will be discussed. A system of four canisters each storing approximately 80 grams of reversible hydrogen is shown to run a 1 kW PEM fuel cell for more than 247 minutes at full power. Canisters show no plastic deformation after more than 500 charge/discharge cycles. The measured strain on canister surfaces indicates that DOT stress limits are not exceeded. The canisters are in the early commercialization stage for uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and auxiliary power unit (APU) applications.
A lightweight fiber-wrapped vessel engineered with metal hydride and internal heat exchanger is being developed for onboard applications. At the system level, the vessel has a volumetric energy density of 50 grams of hydrogen per liter and a gravimetric density of 1.6 wt.%. The vessel is capable of storing 3 kg of hydrogen with a fast refueling capability. Ninety percent of the storable hydrogen can be refueled in 10 minutes at 1500 psig. The vessel can easily release the hydrogen at a rate of 350 slpm at 70°C.
Aluminum tubular vessels are being designed and tested for bulk storage and infrastructure applications including stationary power, hydrogen shipment and hydrogen service stations. The tubular vessel dimensions may be designed for specific applications. For example, a tubular vessel 6 inches in diameter and 62 inches in length can store up to 1 kg of hydrogen.