Technology Areas

Performance Analysis & Cost Modeling

The Performance Analysis & Cost Modeling technology area is devoted to understanding the effect of vehicle wide system architectures and the impact that proposed hydrogen storage systems have on vehicle performance, including the ability to meet drive cycle requirements. This team utilizes a design of experiment and robust optimization strategy to identify system architectures and various hybridization schemes to meet the demanding fuel requirements based on standard drive cycles.

Customized vehicle system models as well as cost and forecourt analysis models are employed to reflect vehicle performance, cost and fuel requirements for real-world operating scenarios. This team also utilized existing DOE hydrogen production and distribution models and greenhouse gas models to gain an understanding of the life cycle impacts of various storage system designs.

The HSECoE includes both the automotive OEMs General Motors and Ford along with a fuel cell system manufacturer and integrator United Technologies to identify acceptable system platforms and layouts that will yield realistic outcomes in system performance and manufacturing cost analysis. This team is developing system architectures and various hybridization schemes to meet the demanding fuel requirements based on standard drive cycles.

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Integrated Power Plant & Storage System Modeling

An accurate understanding of the interplay between the various components comprising a storage system and fuel cell propulsion unit are studied by participants in the Integrated Power Plant/Storage System Modeling technology area.

Here, integration of storage systems, balance of plant and fuel cell components together are optimized utilizing system models which track hydrogen flow, humidification requirements, water and thermal management issues as well as the numerous other system components required to allow for a fully functioning hydrogen storage system in an automotive environment.

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Transport Phenomena

The Transport Phenomena technology area is responsible for modeling the coupled media kinetics and/or isotherms, thermodynamics, mass and energy transport within the insulated boundaries of the storage vessel. This includes the response of the media and internal vessel components to boundary and initial conditions. The Transport Phenomena technology area applies the science associated with the chemical and material behavior of the storage media to predict the storage and discharge of hydrogen for the vessel.The Transport Phenomena technology area consists of three technology teams: Thermal Transport, Mass Transport and Bulk Materials Handling.

The Thermal Transport technology team investigates and optimizes heat exchange designs through combined modeling and experimentation prior to component testing and analysis. The understanding of the physical phenomenon associated with heat exchange, such as contact resistance and media shrinkage are incorporated into models and used to design effective and practical storage vessels

The Mass Transport technology team investigates the transport of hydrogen within the vessel and storage media through modeling and experiments. This effort includes the kinetics/isotherm behavior of the media. Mass transfer within the media and vessels is coupled to thermal energy transfer, including sorption thermodynamics, to give a complete description of storage vessel performance.

The Bulk Materials Handling technology team is responsible for the design of technologies for the transport of the bulk storage media, which is especially important for chemical hydride based systems.

The Transport Phenomena technology area will convert storage vessel models for metal hydrides and adsorbents to a form suitable for use in the system models developed by the Integrated Power Plant/Storage System Modeling technology area. The Transport Phenomena technology area will use storage vessel models developed in this program for the design of experimental prototypes and to determine experimental measurements in the prototype tests.

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Materials Operating Requirements

Knowledge and understanding of the storage media is the responsibility of the Materials Operating Requirements technology team. The assembling of the most accurate and complete materials data from various sources, identification of parametric performance models and identification of data gaps and the filling of these gaps are the responsibility of this team. Additionally, identification of new promising materials, and up/down selecting of these materials for cause is being pursued.

Materials data acquisition has been conducted through high level communication with the DoE material’s centers of excellence and through continual monitoring of the DOE independent programs and the open literature. Materials development efforts will also continue in areas specialized to the HSECoE including densification, pelletization, bulk processing, enhanced thermal conductivity and materials engineering for implementation into specific system design concepts. This information is needed to accurately predict storage system thermal requirements and performance.

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Enabling Technologies

A number of very important Enabling Technologies are required to enable the utilization of the various materials available for hydrogen storage.

These technologies include: thermal insulation, hydrogen purity, sensors, materials compatibility, and containment and pressure vessels. Lack of knowledge and progress in these areas could seriously hinder development of hydrogen storage systems. These technical focus areas will be addressed by the Enabling Technologies technical teams, which will investigate, adapt, and apply commercially acceptable solutions to identified problems.

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Subscale Prototype Construction, Testing, & Evaluation

The Subscale Prototype Construction, Testing and Evaluation technical team is in charge of the design and construction of storage system prototypes, their testing facilities, testing protocols and decommissioning.

System designs need to be brought together with the appropriate materials and expertise to fabricate, assemble and test successfully. The construction of appropriate test facilities to safely test subscale prototype systems is an important aspect of the Center. This requires a knowledge of both the testing protocols for the system, all of the system subcomponents and the materials of construction themselves.

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