One of the aspects that is holding back the growth and commercialization of hydrogen cars and infrastructure development are cheap and effective H2 storage tanks. Hydrogen fuel tanks inside the vehicles tend to be bulky, too heavy and too expensive. Hydrogen storage tanks outside the vehicles such as at H2 fueling stations face the same challenges.
So, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) has stepped in and awarded over $7 million total in four smaller contracts in order to tackle the hydrogen storage issue on several different levels using differing kinds of emerging technologies.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, HRL Laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Oregon are all receiving contracts of between $1.2 million and $2.1 million dollars to improve upon 4 different types of hydrogen storage tanks.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is being paid up to $2.1 million to improve upon the design and manufacture of carbon fiber composite materials that will bring down the costs of these types of compressed hydrogen tanks. HRL Laboratories LLC, is being paid up to $1.2 million to develop hydrogen-rich liquids that can store and release high amounts of hydrogen gas.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is being paid up to $2.1 million to develop metal-organic framework materials that can store high quantities of hydrogen. And the University of Oregon is being paid up to $2 million to develop chemical hydrogen storage materials that can be used both onboard and off board hydrogen vehicles.
By reducing the price of hydrogen fuel tanks inside of cars and the price of hydrogen storage tanks at fueling stations and production centers, the total cost of owning a hydrogen car will come down. In addition profits will go up for those selling hydrogen fuel and it is this profit motive that will encourage the building of the needed hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the near future.