Russia develops ultra-high-pressure cylinders for hydrogen storage and transport

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In another significant step for low-carbon energy development from alternate sources, the Russian state atomic energy corporation announced last month that its subsidiary Centrotech has manufactured and successfully tested prototype metal-composite cylinders of various volumes intended for hydrogen storage and transportation.  

A Rosatom statement said that these 50-litre capacity ultra-high-pressure metal composite cylinders have a working pressure specification of 700 atmospheres (atm) equivalent to 68.9 megapascals. 

“The cylinder has a specially designed liner (the inner sealing layer) made of aluminum alloy and reinforcing winding made of carbon fiber mass-produced by Rosatom Composite Division companies,” the statement said. 

“The test of the 50-litre prototype metal composite cylinder confirmed its compliance with all the strict requirements to a cylinder with 700 atm. working pressure. During the test, the prototype demonstrated the required strength margin (withstood maximum loads with an assurance factor of 2.4) and proved to be resistant to cyclic loads,” it added.  

These ultra-high-pressure metal composite cylinders of large volume are intended for storing and transporting hydrogen, including for hydrogen combustion vehicles. 

“The metal composite cylinder manufacturing is a major carbon fiber consuming segment. According to our estimates, its demand will increase three to five times by 2030, while the use of ultra-high-pressure composite cylinders of 700 atmospheres is turning into a standard and generally accepted solution for storing hydrogen as part of hydrogen combustion vehicles,” Alexander Kuralesov, Commercial Director of a unit of the Rosatom Composite Division, said in a statement.  

Green, or clean, hydrogen is produced by a process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen – known as electrolysis – using power generated from renewable sources or nuclear energy to achieve this. Besides, steam and oxygen can also be used to convert biomass into green hydrogen. 

Russia has been developing clean hydrogen technology for some years. In 2020, the government launched a Hydrogen Energy Action Plan, and in 2021 it approved the Plan of Action to Develop Hydrogen Energy in the country.