Here’s the challenge: developing a lightweight thermoplastic composite tank, resistant to the low temperature of liquid hydrogen. We will develop knowledge and technology that will result in composite materials, as well as design and manufacturing processes for long-life, lightweight fuel tanks for liquid hydrogen storage. This project aims to contribute to the climate goal of zero-emission aviation by 2070.
Liquid hydrogen (LH2) is increasingly seen as a viable alternative fuel to meet our global sustainability goals in aviation and shipping. Furthermore, it would be a promising energy store for excess wind energy and solar energy. Currently, tanks are not able to sustain 100+ cycles and often made from metals – which is less weight efficient. Therefore, the development of weight efficient and long-life storage solutions able to maintain liquid hydrogen safely and efficiently at -253 °C, is crucial. The goal of this project is to present an advanced design and manufacturing concept, including a ‘proof a principle’ for future long-life, lightweight LH2 composite tanks.
Design and manufacturing processes
This challenging project consists of several tasks:
Researching and developing the composite materials suitable for the very low temperature of LH2 (-253 °C), and developing new concepts for tank construction, thermal insulation and auxiliary systems.
Developing new digital design strategies and tools, production technologies and their automation, and new testing and qualification technologies.
Defining safety and qualification requirements, in consultation with future customers and certification organisations, and drawing up a proposal for the safe and reliable use of LH2 as an aviation fuel.
Our SAM XL team will be focussing – within the consortium – on automation techniques, welding techniques and assembly of a LH2 tank demonstrator segment.