The National Composites Centre (NCC) has designed, built, and tested a range of composite cryogenic storage tanks using liquid hydrogen.

The NCC’s development of these composite cryogenic hydrogen storage tanks is an industry first in the UK. In collaboration with Filton Systems Engineering (FSE), NCC’s tank-testing programme employed a liquid hydrogen vacuum test chamber and cryo-rated testing instrumentation, with performance closely monitored against theoretical models. Two types of tanks underwent testing: a single piece construction and a split piece design. Both were tested using liquid hydrogen to evaluate their suitability for larger tank designs.

The testing protocols included ten thermal cycles of emptying and refilling the one-piece tank with liquid hydrogen. It also underwent a single pressure cycle up to seven bar. The split piece tank was subjected to ten pressure cycles from zero to seven bar at LH2 (-253°C) temperatures. The results have provided vital data for model validation, with further testing planned at FSE.

Furthermore, the NCC has plans to establish a cutting-edge manufacturing and test facility for hydrogen transportation and storage, integrating pressure vessels and pipes. The facility is expected to further refine their design, testing, and manufacturing capabilities, with a pressure system already in place and additional machinery to be installed by the end of

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