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DSM Expands Fuel Lock for Hydrogen Storage

Augmented portfolio offers more robust performance in Type IV pressure vessels.

January 13, 2023

2 Min Read
liner materials for Type IV pressure vessels
Image courtesy of DSM Engineering Materials

DSM Engineering Materials has launched two new grades — FLX40-HP and FLX-LP — for use as liner materials in Type IV pressure vessels for hydrogen storage. By adding these new materials to its Akulon Fuel Lock portfolio, more robust performance in processing and greater resiliency in sustainable large-sized designs will be possible for tank and pressure vessel manufacturers. The polyamide used to make the Akulon Fuel Lock compounds has a minimal CO2 footprint and contributes to an overall more favorable life-cycle analysis in line with the intended green application of hydrogen use and storage as an alternative carbon-free fuel in mobile transport.

With these two new products, DSM Engineering Materials is staying abreast of the trend of designing sustainable and large-sized pressure vessels for trucks, buses, and mobile hydrogen transport. The advanced PA 6 is suited for producing Type IV pressure vessels that are 70% lighter than steel alternatives and offer mechanical strength, dimensional stability, and impact resistance throughout part lifetimes.

Akulon Fuel Lock tank liners also enhance vehicle safety and fuel efficiency through a barrier that reduces permeation leakage of hydrogen from the pressure vessel. The Akulon Fuel Lock portfolio of PA 6 materials all have a higher barrier than standard PA 6, allowing for thinner walls in monolayer tanks.

Akulon FLX-LP is an injection molding grade with excellent processing behavior and extremely high toughness and ductility at low temperatures (-40°C and below). These properties enable designs for increased life-time performance through extended pressure cycle testing.

Akulon FLX40-HP is a high-viscosity material, which makes it suitable for extrusion and blow molding. Material advantages include:

  • Improved heat stabilization package, which creates a more robust processing window during extrusion and blow molding and reduces oxidation at the surface;

  • better impact modifier system, which creates more toughness and ductility at low temperatures (-40°C and below);

  • improved pinch line performance in the blow molding process.

Both material grades are launching in addition to the existing FLE-LP and FLE40-HP grades in the Akulon Fuel Lock portfolio. All these materials meet the requirements of EC79 and R134 standards.

DSM’s patented Fuel Lock technology in both new grades ensures excellent barrier performance against hydrogen permeation and enables reduced thickness of the liner compared to polyamide and polyolefin products.

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