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Glass fiber, nylon combine in zero-permeation CNG tank

Thanks to the unique combination of an inner liner made with Akulon Fuel Lock polyamide 6 resin from DSM Engineering Plastics (Geleen, The Netherlands) and HiPer-tex high-performance glass fiber from 3B-the fibreglass company (Battice, Belgium), Gastank Sweden AB (Norrfjärden) is now able to manfacture zero-permeation cylinders that meet the very stringent ECE R110 regulation governing the use of Type IV high-pressure CNG cylinders for

(Norrfjärden) is now able to manfacture zero-permeation cylinders that meet the very stringent ECE R110 regulation governing the use of Type IV high-pressure CNG cylinders for motor vehicles.

Gastank President Kurt Berglund states: "The combination of both Akulon Fuel Lock and HiPer-tex glass fiber enables optimizing the cost-benefit ratio of Type IV cylinders. HiPer-tex high-performance fiber bridges the gap between heavyweight steel and high-cost carbon fiber composites due to its ability to deliver a comprehensive range of properties economically, whereas the newly developed, cost-effective Akulon Fuel Lock considerably reduces loss of gas through permeation."

Berglund continues: "Independent consultant Powertech Labs Inc. (Surrey, Canada) did not detect any loss of gas via permeation in our newly developed Gastank 32 CNG tank with 32-liter capacity. This unprecedented result makes our lightweight, zero-permeation composite CNG tanks a benchmark within the composite cylinder manufacturing industry."

Eric Debondue, business development leader at 3B, adds: "3B's unique HiPer-tex glass formulation delivers a high level of performance in composite parts such as wind turbine blades, ballistic armor, and high-pressure vessels or pipes while ensuring sustainable economics. We are very proud at 3B to partner with GASTANK Sweden AB and DSM to develop an extremely reliable and durable CNG tank thanks to the high mechanical, fatigue, and corrosion-resistant properties of HiPer-tex fiber as well as the unique high-barrier properties of Akulon Fuel Lock."

Tim Vorage, application development manager at DSM, adds: "Cost-effective Akulon Fuel Lock not only shows a permeation factor at least 150-times lower than high-density polyethylene (HDPE); it also significantly limits creep under extreme temperatures at the cylinder's neck thanks to a 50°C higher temperature resistance than HDPE. In addition, the ability to withstand higher temperatures allows a faster curing time of the composite material."

DSM launched Akulon Fuel Lock in 2010 as a mono-polyamide 6 compound that dramatically reduces evaporative emissions from the fuel tanks of non-road, outdoor equipment and vehicles with small, spark-ignition engines. Tests of a tank with a nominal 2-mm wall thickness molded from Akulon Fuel Lock showed an exceptionally low evaporative emission rate less than 20% of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation limit. Akulon Fuel Lock further supports sustainable practices by avoiding fluorination, a traditional barrier technology for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that can pose environmental risks.

CNG fuel systems equip approximately 2 million cars every year globally with as many as four tanks installed per vehicle. Some OEM's offer CNG as an option, however many vehicles are retro-fitted and the use of CNG is expected to grow at 18% per year.-[email protected]

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