Energy Storage and Hydrogen Fueled Vehicles

A key factor limiting the prevalence of renewable energy is the challenge of energy storage and distribution. Electrical power generated by wind and solar is often located far from the point of ultimate use requiring expensive power transmission systems.

Hydrogen has been recognized as an attractive energy storage media since it can be generated with any source of electrical power (including renewable) and water using highly efficient and mature electrolysis systems. Recent developments in high pressure electrolysis for space applications have further increased the potential, minimizing the cost of hydrogen compression. The very low relative density of hydrogen results in costly distribution so development of storage technologies with high volumetric and gravimetric efficiency are sought to enable more widespread usage.

ACENT is working on the development of advanced hydrogen storage systems with US and international collaborators. These include chemical hydrides, liquid-phase adsorption-based systems and applications of conventional metal hydrides. Extensive experience with high pressure compressed hydrogen from the aerospace industry is also being leveraged.

In early 2011, a team comprised of ACENT, ATK and Toro delivered two fuel-cell powered utility vehicles to the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) under contract to the US Navy. These vehicles, which utilize commercial metal hydride hydrogen storage with an advanced heat exchange system to leverage fuel cell waste heat, are currently deployed at a DLA depot in Pennsylvania. Development of a fuel cell powered Yard Tractor is currently underway in collaboration with ATK and Balqon Corp.

Energy Storage and Hydrogen Fueled Vehicles