Press Release: Mobile Hydrogen Spherical Storage in TransHyDE

© Fährhafen Sassnitz GmbH

Following a restructuring, the consortium is now launching with a new focus. The project aims to investigate the storage and transport of gaseous hydrogen to supply customers without access to an H2 pipeline network. Spherical storage solutions are being developed, characterized by an optimal compromise between load-bearing and material-appropriate geometry, as well as low manufacturing and operating costs, enabling efficient transport with a high payload ratio.

Sassnitz/Essen/Hamburg/Cottbus/Wildau, 26th May 2023

How can volatile hydrogen molecules be stored and transported on ships, railways, and roads? This question is being addressed by six partner companies under the leadership of the Gas and Heat Institute Essen (GWI) in the TransHyDE project Mukran. The consortium is investigating and developing innovative containers for high-pressure hydrogen storage and decentralized, trimodal hydrogen distribution, meaning that the hydrogen containers should be transportable by truck, ship, and train. This enables decentralized supply to consumers far away from the pipeline network, emphasizes Janina Senner, the project coordinator of TransHyDE Mukran at GWI. "To ensure future supply security, it is important to test additional transportation routes for gaseous hydrogen outside of the pipeline network. This can be best achieved through a trimodal transport concept via water, rail, and road."

The goal of the project is to realize and demonstrate the entire process chain from container development and prototype construction to a mobile storage solution suitable for road, rail, and maritime transportation. For this purpose, the project partners, including the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP) research area Polymer Materials and Composites (PYCO) and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) Chair of Polymer-based Lightweight Design under the leadership of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Seidlitz, are developing two types of spherical storage vessels with different material compositions. The first storage vessel will combine a steel liner with an outer layer made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The second spherical container will utilize two different types of steel. High-strength alloys, novel material-appropriate manufacturing processes, and rule-based optimization strategies are the drivers of innovation, ensuring safety at high operating pressures despite minimized wall thickness. The partners expect significant advantages from the material selection, including cost savings that make the spherical storage vessels competitive, as well as improved durability and recyclability.

To make the novel hydrogen storage systems mobile, they are planned to be integrated into standardized container formats. However, this requires the development of a framework that stably holds the spherical storage vessels within the containers during transportation. This is also the responsibility of the two research institutions. In collaboration with the Mukran Port ferry terminal on Rügen and the European logistics company Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), they are discussing the requirements for transportation, as well as the filling and extraction of hydrogen. These steps will then be practically tested at the HHLA facilities in Hamburg and Port Mukran. To examine the transport of gaseous hydrogen nationwide and in a trimodal manner, various transport options will be analyzed in more detail in a model at GWI. Strategic project consultancy cruh21 is responsible for disseminating the results and finding suitable investors.

The entire project is funded with approximately 19 million euros by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is part of the TransHyDE flagship project. The project partners include the Gas and Heat Institute Essen (GWI), the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU), the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP), the Mukran Port ferry terminal (Fährhafen Sassnitz GmbH), the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), and the independent consulting firm cruh21 GmbH.

Forward-looking work is important to the project team

"For achieving climate protection goals, the supply of hydrogen is a crucial element. To ensure widespread supply, it is important to distribute hydrogen within Germany in a decentralized manner. The GWI is investigating the logistics and transportation options for gaseous hydrogen as part of the project," says Janina Senner, team leader for PtX at the Gas and Heat Institute Essen.

"For achieving climate protection goals and increasing the independence of the German energy market, the expansion of renewable energies and the storage of green hydrogen are essential. The Chair of Polymer-based Lightweight Design at BTU is developing two types of high-pressure tanks in collaboration with the project partners. By using innovative manufacturing technologies, optimizing process flows, and employing high-performance materials, the weight of the tanks is reduced," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Seidlitz, head of the Chair of Polymer-based Lightweight Design and acting head of the Joining and Welding Technology Chair at BTU, as well as research area leader PYCO at Fraunhofer IAP.

"The hydrogen economy is a key element of the energy sector's transformation. High-pressure tanks are suitable for storing the gas with minimal inherent energy consumption. Within the TransHyDE project, the Fraunhofer IAP is designing spherical CFRP-reinforced containers, optimizing the layer structure, and implementing a monitoring system. This will provide the industry with a safe storage solution with a high payload ratio," says Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Dreyer, deputy research area leader PYCO at Fraunhofer IAP and head of the Fiber Composite Material Technologies Chair at TH Wildau.

"By participating in the TransHyDE project Mukran, HHLA aims to develop sustainable and cost-effective solutions for hydrogen transportation. By optimizing the process chain for hydrogen storage and transport, the provisioning costs of green hydrogen are expected to be significantly reduced, enabling value-added utilization," says Dr. Georg Böttner, head of hydrogen projects at HHLA.

"The participation in the TransHyDE consortium enables collaboration between research and industry to drive the implementation process of new technologies in a targeted and time-effective manner. Only through such collaboration can we all contribute to climate protection while advancing the German economy," says Claudia Martens, Marketing & Development Industries at Fährhafen Sassnitz, Mukran Port.

"TransHyDE combines the strengths of research and industry for a sustainable decarbonization of Germany's economic landscape. cruh21 contributes its capabilities in knowledge transfer and interface communication. My wish for the TransHyDE consortium is interdisciplinary collaboration on an equal footing," says Artur Flaum, Junior Consultant at cruh21.

About the Hydrogen Flagship Projects: The Hydrogen Flagship Projects constitute the largest research initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research on the topic of energy transition. In the three flagship projects, industry and academia jointly develop solutions for the German hydrogen economy: serial production of large-scale electrolyzers (H2Giga), offshore hydrogen production (H2Mare), and hydrogen transportation technologies (TransHyDE). The TransHyDE flagship project develops, evaluates, and tests hydrogen transportation solutions. Without suitable transportation infrastructure, a hydrogen economy cannot function, which is why four transportation technologies will be advanced in demonstration projects: (1) hydrogen transport in high-pressure containers, (2) hydrogen liquid transport, (3) hydrogen transport in existing and new gas pipelines, and (4) transport of hydrogen bound in ammonia or the LOHC carrier medium.

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Contact: Janina Senner Project Coordinator Gas and Heat Institute Essen (GWI)

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