UK project to improve van hydrogen storage

Composites technology company Cygnet Texkimp is taking part in a £16 m UK project to develop a hydrogen-powered version of the Ford Transit van.

Plans are for the FCVGen2.0 project to build a number of fuel-cell powered vehicles with improved hydrogen storage capacity, and to develop a way to recycle the fuel tank components used.

The three-year project has been joint funded by Ford and the UK government as part of a strategy to build an end-to-end supply chain for zero-emission vehicles and increase the power and range of hydrogen powered light commercial vehicles, according to the companies.

Cygnet Texkimp says that its role is to improve the composites recycling machinery and process needed to reclaim suitable composite fibers from hydrogen storage tanks at the end of their useful life and reuse them in new hydrogen vessels or in other applications. The company will focus on developing its composites reclaiming technology specifically for hydrogen tanks and provide fiber handling expertise and machinery for the manufacture of carbon overwrapped hydrogen pressure vessels throughout the project.

“We’re delighted to be involved in a project of such significance in the global movement towards net zero and one that showcases the UK as a leading hydrogen economy in terms of capacity, capability and technology,” says Andy Whitham, research manager at Cygnet Texkimp.

“Sustainable end-of-life management of hydrogen tanks is a challenge we need to address now, before hydrogen powered vehicles are the norm. By developing technologies that allow efficient reclamation of the high-quality composite fiber used in hydrogen tanks, we can create a secure supply of recycled carbon fiber amid a significant global shortage of [unrecycled] fiber. This new source of fiber will also mean that important work in the development of vehicle lightweighting materials and methods can continue to advance, despite a finite supply of carbon fiber.”