With many countries currently signed up to the Paris agreement to reduce worldwide CO2 emissions by 15 giga tons by 2030, there is a push for more environmentally friendly transportation fuels. One of the most promising alternative fuel sources is hydrogen, whose only tailpipe emission is water. Due to this, it is anticipated that there will by approximately 1.5 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2022. However due to high profile accidents like the Hindenberg, the public perception of hydrogen fuel is that it is incredibly dangerous.
In order to overcome this poor public perception, R-TECH has been working on an award winning Innovate UK funding project, in conjunction with TWI, Pancom and Arcola Energy, looking at developing a safety system that would reassure users of the safety of a hydrogen powered vehicle. Using acoustic emissions sensors and expertise provided by Pancom, R-TECH conducted a number of different static and dynamic mechanical tests in order to develop a characteristic acoustic emissions mother curve for a type III hydrogen fuel storage cylinder. The failure modes and locations detected by acoustic emissions was then confirmed by X-Ray CT at TWI in Port Talbot, in order to confirm the validity of the results. This data was then used to develop critical failure criteria to use as part of the safety system.
A prototype product has now been produced and is currently undergoing field trials.