image: Jacqueline McBride/LLNL
One of the oft-heard complaints about hydrogen powered cars is that the fuel tanks cannot store their fuel for extended periods—having to vent their contents in two to four days’ time. New research coming out of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory attempts to remedy this problem.
Current tank prototypes can hold their fuel for up to six days and demonstrated that they were able to go up to 650 miles on a single tank of hydrogen. Researchers are hopeful that storage times can be expanded to 15 days in the future.
This increase in storage is accomplished by pressurizing the hydrogen to a much greater degree than previous tanks: Where older models might be pressurized at 2-10 atmospheres this new prototype tank can operate at a pressure of 350 atmospheres. Under these conditions the super-cooled liquid (-420 Fahrenheit) is at less risk of pressure building as the tank warms due to atmospheric conditions.