Title: Projected Growth Rate of Carbon Fiber Composite Usage in Hydrogen Powered Vehicles
Authors: Michael Favaloro
Abstract: As changes in climate have become scientifically linked to fossil fuels, hydrogen has been identified as a sustainable, realistic option for decarbonizing transport by powering cars, heavy-duty trucks, forklifts/logistic equipment, railcars, marine vessels and aircraft, as well as stationary power plants. These systems require storage and transport of the hydrogen fuel in a pressurized gaseous, cryogenic liquid or hybrid cryo-compressed state. Composite pressure vessels are a well-proven and mature solution for high-pressure hydrogen gas storage that could provide a doubling of the industrial market for carbon fiber. However, the low volumetric capacity of hydrogen gas is also pushing higher-density liquid and cryo-compressed solutions that could use more metal than composites. The price of carbon fiber composites is also an issue. This paper will discuss this emerging market for carbon fiber as well as the technical and economic challenges, including a summary of ongoing and potential research that could determine whether composites will play a major or minor role in the emerging hydrogen economy.
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