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Lawrence Livermore National Lab

About Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a premier research and development facility for science and technology solutions. The advanced manufacturing group at LLNL is comprised of 5 individual facilities centered around the design, synthesis, and manufacturing of micro-architected materials that display novel properties. Much of our focus has been in novel materials for structural and energy absorption/storage/harvesting applications.

Capabilities

Hydrogen storage: Hydrogen storage is often cited as the greatest obstacle to achieving a hydrogen economy free of environmental pollution and dependence on foreign oil. A compact high-pressure cryogenic storage system has promising features to the storage challenge associated with hydrogen-powered vehicles. Cryogenic pressure vessels consist of an inner vessel designed for high pressure (up to 700 bar) insulated with reflective sheets of metalized plastic and enclosed within an outer metallic vacuum jacket. When filled with pressurized liquid hydrogen, cryogenic pressure vessels become the most compact form of hydrogen storage available. A recent prototype is the only automotive hydrogen vessel meeting both Department of Energy's 2020 weight and volume targets. When installed onboard an experimental vehicle, a cryogenic pressure vessel demonstrated the longest driving distance with a single H2 tank (1050 km). In a subsequent experiment, the vessel demonstrated unprecedented thermal endurance: 8 days parking with no evaporative losses, extending to a month if the vehicle is driven as little as 8 km per day. Calculations indicate that cryogenic vessels offer compelling safety advantages and the lowest total ownership cost of hydrogen storage technologies. Long-term (~10 years) vacuum stability (necessary for high performance thermal insulation) is the key outstanding technical challenge. Testing continues to establish technical feasibility and safety.

Facilities

  • Liquid hydrogen pump, manufactured by Linde and installed at LLNL campus in 2013, is capable of rapid (1.67 kg/min) refueling at 20+% higher density than liquid hydrogen and double the density of compressed hydrogen at 700 bar and ambient temperature (the state typically used in today's hydrogen-fueled vehicles).
  • Hydrogen pressure vessel test facility (September of 2015) enables rapid and cost effective full scale (5+ kg) vessel testing with cryogenic and/or ambient temperature hydrogen: Cycle testing, Permeability, Durability/stress rupture, Strength and burst testing. Containment vessel rated for 1.8 kg TNT equivalent enables testing of full-sized vessel
Photo of a hydrogen-fueled vehicle parked in front of a fueling/power station at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.