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The polyamide-based fuel tank meets regulatory requirements with a monolayer structure.

Stephen Moore

October 21, 2022

2 Min Read
HEV fuel tank
Image courtesy of Stephen Moore

DSM Engineering Materials and Renault have joined forces to create an industry-first lightweight solution for hybrid vehicle fuel tanks, which is being shown at K 2022 in hall 6, booth B110. By using Akulon Fuel Lock, a polyamide 6 (PA 6) compound, the fuel tanks can be produced with a blow-molded monolayer construction that significantly reduces weight and cost without compromising safety or risking additional emissions. The fuel tank is designed and manufactured by DSM Engineering Materials project partners RM Technologies and MTS France.

As e-mobility continues to develop, regulations and standards are evolving alongside the industry. European Union regulations set a maximum CO2 emission rate of 95 g/km for passenger cars, which necessitates a careful balance of materials and design to maximize fuel efficiency. Traditionally, fuel tanks were made of steel to prevent volatile compounds from escaping, but these tanks add significant weight to the vehicle. Hybrid vehicles enable the use of smaller fuel tanks, making a polymer solution more viable, but high-density polyethylene (HDPE) still requires multilayer structures with complex additional features to prevent permeation and withstand extended periods of internal pressure inherent to plug-in hybrid vehicles.

In addition to barrier layer requirements, HDPE tanks also feature more complex designs, according to DSM, with internal structural ribs required for strength. Akulon Fuel Lock, which is also used in the fuel pipe, features 40% less permeation than standard PA 6 in a single-layer construction, and does not require additional structural reinforcing elements.

Following the successful development of the world’s first automotive fuel tank in PA commercialized on the Alpine A110, DSM Engineering Materials continued its partnership with RM Technologies, MTS France, and Renault to create another industry-first solution for the Renault CAPTUR E-Tech plug-in-hybrid, drawing on its portfolio of high-performance materials to complement Renault’s fuel-system engineering expertise. DSM's innovative Akulon Fuel Lock material enables a lightweight monolayer fuel tank with the low permeation properties needed to meet regulations.

Akulon Fuel Lock PA6 grades are designed for injection or blow molding and extrusion, making them highly versatile for the rapid design practices of the e-mobility sector. Extremely high parison stability enables very narrow wall-thickness distribution, and robust performance at both high and low temperatures ensures that safety is always paramount. Akulon Fuel Lock also offers a drop-in solution and a second life to monolayer blow-molding machines dedicated to the production of the declining diesel monolayer fuel tanks.

K 2022 runs through Oct. 26 at Messe Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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