U.S. Air Force Contracts Mainstream Engineering to Develop Safe, High Density Nanostructured Hydrogen Storage Vessels
Leveraging their expertise in nanostructure fabrication and manipulation, Mainstream is developing a self-assembled hydrogen storage vessel produced with low-cost materials and methods. The company’s nanostructure hydrogen storage technology uses compressive-based storage in a structure that can withstand exceptionally high pressures and still maintain an extremely low vessel weight.
During Phase I, Mainstream successfully fabricated and demonstrated the potential of the nanomaterial to not only store hydrogen densely, but also store oxygen and other gasses such as xenon and krypton for NASA ion propulsion drive technology. When Mainstream measured the hydrostatic burst pressure of the nanostructured storage vessel, they discovered the vessel was stable at pressures corresponding to storage densities of 60 g/L and 12% g-hydrogen/g-system. This volumetric density is near the DOE 2015 target, and 12% g/g exceeds DOE’s 2015 gravimetric requirement by a factor of 2.
During Phase II, Mainstream will produce large-volume, nanostructured hydrogen storage vessels that exceed the DOE’s 2015 requirements. Because the nanomaterials are fabricated by self-assembly, they require very little energy or labor input, which leads to a low-cost hydrogen storage technology for stationary and mobile applications. Furthermore, the segregated nature of the storage vessel allows high-pressure gas to be stored safely and be highly transportable.
Safe and dense hydrogen storage will impact the hydrogen economy in nearly every area, including portable power, fuel cells, and hydrogen vehicles. Mainstream expects to have transition-ready technology and a scale-up production plan by the end of Phase II.
About Mainstream Engineering
Mainstream Engineering Corporation is a solutions-oriented research, development, and manufacturing small business founded in 1986. Their mission is to transition advanced thermal control, energy storage, and energy conversion technology into high-quality, cost-effective, environmentally-safe green, commercial products. Products include lightweight diesel/JP8-fueled engines (including generators and hybrid vehicle drive trains), advanced thermal control units, advanced biomass conversion technologies, refrigerators/freezers for shipping containers, and the QwikProduct™ line of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) products. Areas of advanced research include thermal control, energy conversion, engine and emissions research, turbomachinery, chemical technology, and materials science.