On March 25, 2021, the Hydrogen Online Workshop (HOW) took place and offered with more than 6,600 international exhibitors, participants and speakers a good opportunity to meet and exchange with experts from the hydrogen industry about the latest developments as well as current problems.

Kai Steinbach, our Head of Engineering, led one of the 30 HOW workshops under the topic: „How to select the hydrogen tank solution? – Materials and Technologies.“ He presented current design solutions and manufacturing technologies for hydrogen pressure vessels and gave advice on material and industry-specific use.

Afterwards, he answered a wide range of questions from the more than 600 workshop participants in a lively discussion. For example, many participants asked about the application scenarios of the different tank types: In the case of stationary hydrogen tanks for industrial applications, the volume or weight often plays a less decisive role and thus metallic pressure tanks are predominantly used. For mobile applications, such as in motor vehicles, the installation space is limited and the storage tank must be as light as possible. Therefore, pressure tanks made of composite materials are used there. These have a thin inner liner made of metal or plastic and are reinforced on the outside with carbon or glass fibers.

Also, at the request of the participants, Kai Steinbach explained in more detail the advantages and disadvantages of storing hydrogen in gaseous or liquid form. In liquid form, storage is possible at low pressures. However, the hydrogen must be cooled down very far for this, which is why special, thermally insulated cryogenic tanks are required. Due to the higher energy density, cryogenic tanks are particularly suitable for mobile drive solutions, e.g. in the aerospace industry or for motor vehicles. However, the comparatively higher volume of the tanks due to the insulation and possible evaporation losses during longer vehicle downtimes have a disadvantage here.

A survey among the participants during the workshop revealed that, in addition to tank weight and volume as well as storage density, costs are of course a primary decisive factor in the development of tank systems. Therefore, many guests were interested in the question of the „best“ material or the „optimum“ production technology for a hydrogen storage system. Because it always depends on the individual case what the optimum solution is and a two-hour workshop cannot replace a detailed feasibility study, Kai Steinbach’s answer here was several times: „It depends on …“.

Unfortunately, the given time in the workshop was not sufficient to answer all questions in detail However, Kai Steinbach and his team will be happy to answer your inquiries about hydrogen storage at any time. You can contact Mr. Steinbach at: kai.steinbach@lzs-dd.de.

We would like to thank all participants for the intensive and stimulating discussion.

LZS at Hydrogen Online Workshop 2021