Omni Tanker, Lockheed Martin, and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have teamed up to develop technology that can transport and store liquid hydrogen.
The group hopes to use two home-grown technologies to solve the challenges of liquid hydrogen storage with applications on the ground, in the air, underwater, and in space, thanks to a grant from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).
The collaboration is expected to result in the development of two new operational scale propellant tanks for storing cryogenic liquid fuels for commercial and civil satellite programs, using nano-engineering technology developed by UNSW in collaboration with Lockheed Martin and Omni Tanker’s OmniBINDTM technology.
A Type IV fluoropolymer-lined carbon fibre composite tank and a Type V lineless carbon fibre composite tank, both suitable for high pressures and cryogenic temperatures required for liquid hydrogen, will be used.
The project builds on a recent invention by a UNSW research team led by Professor Chun Wang that allows carbon fibre composites to withstand liquid hydrogen temperatures without matrix cracks – a challenge that has prevented mass-market adoption of these materials for such applications up until now.
“This new technology is the result of an outstanding collaboration and partnership between UNSW, Lockheed Martin and Omni Tanker over the past four years. It is wonderful seeing our research achievement is now moving closer towards commercial success and generating social and economic impact in Australia and beyond,” said Professor Wang.
Omni Tanker’s CEO, Daniel Rodgers, added, “This next phase in our collaboration with Lockheed Martin and UNSW is a landmark development that sees Omni Tanker’s seamless thermoplastic lining technology enter the aerospace sector.”
“The OmniBINDTM technology has made inroads to revolutionising the safe and efficient movement of challenging liquids within the chemical transport sector. Now the growing need to decarbonise the energy industry, and the re-usable low-earth-orbit satellite market, have the potential to drive major utilisation for these new technologies.”
“We are excited to work with Lockheed Martin and UNSW on this ground-breaking project, which leverages our patented technology. It is also a credit to the talented Australian engineering team that we have assembled at Omni Tanker,” said Omni Tanker’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr Luke Djukic.
Christopher Hess, Head of Industrial Development, Lockheed Martin Australia acknowledged the support of AMGC and welcomed the opportunity for ongoing collaboration with UNSW and Omni Tanker.
Hess, commented, “Lockheed Martin invests millions of dollars every year into R&D programmes with our Australian industry and research partners to solve real challenges facing our Global Supply Chains.”
“We have had a long- standing research collaboration with UNSW and Omni Tanker, and we are grateful for the support of the AMGC as we now look to commercialise these cutting edge, Australian-developed composite tank technologies for a number of Lockheed Martin and NASA applications.”