Image: NCC

Ultima Forma, Lentus Composites, and the National Composites Centre (NCC) have formed a team to create a revolutionary high pressure hydrogen storage tank for usage in HGV, bus, and off-highway applications.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s (APC) Automotive Transformation Fund has awarded funds to Project HYSTOR. The project, developed by Ultima Forma, combines an unique electroformed integrated metallic liner with a composite wrap to achieve weight savings and other benefits over current market options. Lentus Composites uses automated filament winding technology to weave structural carbon fiber onto the revolutionary thin walled liner.

Steve Newbury, MD at Ultima Forma, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Lentus and the NCC to bring to market improved storage solutions for high pressure hydrogen. Hydrogen propulsion systems are clearly identified as part of the UK’s Technology Roadmap and will play an increasingly significant role in the energy mix in the coming years. Pressurised storage systems are a key component where the UK supply chain can play an influential role in this growing energy economy.”

The project will analyze, manufacture, and conduct initial testing on the vessel design, demonstrating its practicality and establishing a clear path to industrialization and utilization. The prototype vessels will be subjected to essential testing necessary for future certification, establishing confidence in the product’s ability to perform to the demanding requirements required in service.

Marcus Walls-Bruck, Chief Engineer for Hydrogen at the National Composites Centre, said: “Composite materials will have a significant role in the deployment of hydrogen. The NCC are excited to support the development of UK hydrogen supply chains, leveraging the investments the NCC have made in developing composites for hydrogen applications, and the expertise of Ultima Forma and Lentus Composites.”

Daniel Chilcott, Business Development Director at Lentus Composites, said: “We’re very excited about the opportunity this collaboration offers the UK in developing clean energy such as hydrogen propulsion.”

Apart from HGV applications where hydrogen propulsion makes sense, the HYSTOR team sees potential for this technology in neighboring rail, aircraft, and space areas where hydrogen storage and weight are essential criteria.

The project is scheduled to conclude in April 2022, at which point the partners will focus on commercialization and certification testing of first-to-market goods.

Nedim Husomanovic

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