A company called Applied Nanotech has received a contract from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop ultra-lightweight and super strong hydrogen fuel tanks. Applied Nanotech will be using some of their existing technology for creating sporting goods such as badminton racquets and golf club shafts for this hydrogen tank project.
The 9-month project will involve using carbon nanotube reinforcement to replace some of the carbon fiber and epoxy material that some hydrogen fuel tanks currently use. By substituting carbon nanotubes, this will have three advantages.
First. introducing carbon nanotube technology will reduce the overall weight of the hydrogen fuel tanks by 20 to 30-percent. This will result in higher fuel mileage for the vehicle. Second, carbon nanotube technology will provide more strength and durability to the hydrogen fuel tanks.
Third, using carbon nanotubes will drive down the cost of the tanks making hydrogen cars a bit more affordable in the near term. Besides the fuel cell itself, the next costliest part of a hydrogen FCV is generally the fuel tank.
Driving down costs for the most costliest parts of an FCV such as the hydrogen fuel tank will bring down the overall costs and this will lead to another step towards commercialization in the near future.