Global demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles continues to grow. However, large-scale adoption of these alternative fuel technologies requires safe, efficient, high-pressure gas storage. To address this challenge, Noble Gas Systems was founded to create a safe, conformable, lightweight compressed gas storage and delivery system. Today, the company has demonstrated its latest generation of conformable gas tanks, which can be configured into existing vehicle architectures. The new tanks, with working pressures of 350 bar (5,000 psi), are lightweight and less than 80-mm (3.1-in) wide.
“The automotive and commercial vehicle industries are investing heavily in fuel cell technology as a solution to meet low- and zero-emission government regulations, but current compressed gas storage systems are big, heavy and inefficient,” said Chris Kondogiani, principal, Noble Gas Systems. “Our solution not only addresses the storage challenge, but efficiently and safely stores compressed hydrogen or CNG fuel onboard a vehicle without impacting passenger or cargo space.”
The Noble Gas high-pressure, lightweight storage and delivery system can accommodate the most common compressed gases, including natural gas, air, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. It features a tank comprised of a thermoplastic polymer liner, woven reinforcement and protective outer shell. A safer alternative to other options, the system currently meets burst and hydrogen permeation requirements for 350-bar working pressures and has a leak-before-burst failure mode to eliminate the opportunity for a catastrophic, instantaneous release of high-pressure gas.
Designed with conformability in mind, the gas storage system can be fabricated in a variety of shapes and sizes to be easily integrated into unique and existing product configurations. In addition to the transportation industry, it has applications in defense, aviation, marine and industrial gas industries.
“We are optimistic about the impact our gas storage system can have in transportation and other industries,” added Kondogiani. “We are currently working on a number of development projects with customers and have completed our own proof-of-concept vehicle – a retrofitted 2019 Polaris Ranger EV – to demonstrate the tank in real-world conditions. Although there is additional work to be done to make the storage system production ready and viable for additional markets, we have achieved very important milestones. We have a solid road map to complete the commercialization process and continue to develop solutions for higher pressures.