BMW has announced a breakthrough in hydrogen storage for automobiles. The BMW Hydrogen 7 can now use cryo-compression to store either gaseous or liquid hydrogen inside super-insulated tanks.
Before this breakthrough, the liquid hydrogen being super-cooled in the tank was subject to the “boil off” effect where a tank of fuel could evaporate in just a couple of weeks. By compressing the liquid hydrogen, the boil off problem is no longer an issue. In addition, the tank is also capable of storing compressed hydrogen gas, which is the fuel most other hydrogen cars are using.
The BMW Hydrogen 7 tanks contain layers of insulated jackets and with this new breakthrough, drivers will now be able to choose, which form of hydrogen (liquid or gas) they would like to run in the car’s internal combustion engine. Of course, since the Hydrogen 7 is also a dual-fuel vehicle, drivers may choose to run gasoline in the 12-cylinder engine as well.
Last week Prince Albert II of Monaco was handed the keys to a traditional BMW Hydrogen 7 luxury car and this week the founder of founder of J.D. Power and Associates (who goes by the same name without the Associates) is also the latest driver of one of these traditional vehicles. There is no word yet from BMW as to which future driver will be the first afforded the luxury of driving a Hydrogen 7 with a cryo-compressed tank.
Since there are far more compressed hydrogen gas fueling stations open and operational than ones that dispense liquid hydrogen, this new breakthrough storage technology will give drivers even more flexibility than before. So, kudos to BMW for taking another positive step that will aid the rollout of hydrogen cars to the masses.