Introducing the Hydra-Pak

The challenges

Current methods of storing hydrogen are known to be problematic, highly explosive, elevated pressures (150 – 200 bar) legal restrictions, shortened equipment lifecycle, expensive storage tanks, blast walls all contribute to a challenging solution when attempting to find a commercial use for the most abundant gas in the Universe with only water as a by product.

The patented solution licensed to H2H Alternative Energy Solutions Ltd removes all of the above challenges.

As can be seen from the above chart the use of metal hydrides almost doubles the capacity of its nearest rival in hydrogen storage, and is up to 6 times more efficient than storing gas at high pressure. This is improved again when using porous metal hydrides. 

The containment vessel

The ‘Hydra-Pak’ (registered trademark) is the current commercial name given to the vessel and method of storage.

1. New and novel materials

Our patented novel materials known as porous metal hydrides (PMHs). The hydrides used are capable of absorbing significant amounts of hydrogen and are between seven to ten times more efficient than the currently developed hydride materials.

2. The unique containment vessels

Our patents cover the unique Hydra-Pak; essentially it is a unique method of keeping the hydride materials very stable in the Hydra-Pak whist providing very fast thermal transfer throughout all of the material, critical for the fast movement of hydrogen both in and out of the storage vessels.

This document provides an insight into the technology and how it can be utilized and adapted to provide radical change across a number of complimentary applications each worth literally billions of dollars.

The project will also equip the associated hydrogen logistics business operators with new opportunities; provide workshops and educate their staff. 

California will then have a lower cost and greener infrastructure enabling private and business customer’s opportunities to operate their HFC vehicles economically.

Gaining new customer and further acceptance of California’s developing hydrogen economy will be a key objective of the Interceptor Project.

We want to reach out to people and let them know about this exciting hydrogen storage and refuelling technology – we want to offer them a way to see this sustainable refuelling infrastructure in every day operation, and get everyone to understand the whole benefits of alternative renewable energy.

Order to service these requirements H2H Alternative Energy Solutions Ltd propose the following solution(s).

The efficient storage of hydrogen is regarded as one of the most important preconditions for the spread of fuel cell technology within the transport sector. Hydrogen has a low volumetric energy density, in vehicles it is usually carried in compressed form in pressurised cylinders. 700 bar is now the established storage pressure for passenger vehicles. In larger vehicles (buses and lorries) the storage is less constrained by size, therefore they are able to use high pressure storage tanks at 350 bar. Fuel cell passenger cars currently have a range of around 300 miles (500)km) Within current technology this requires around 4-6 kgs hydrogen, depending on driving styles and driving conditions. A passenger car needs using this method of storage requires a tank capacity of 100 to 150 litres to store 4-6 kgs hydrogen at 700 bar. In addition to the volume and weight of the fuel, the weight of the tank system is relevant since heavy tank systems increase rolling and acceleration resistance and will affect the fuel and energy consumption of the vehicle.

When compared to both of these metrics the proposed containment vessel will be held at significantly lower pressure up to 10 bar and when compared to the existing full will have a favourable ratio to liquefied fuels. 

The storage vessel – the Hydra–Pak
Using porous metal hydride (PMHs) 

Metal hydrides are metals which have been bonded to hydrogen to form a new compound. Any hydrogen compound that is bonded to another metal element can effectively be called a metal hydride; the bonds are covalent in nature i.e. the number of electron pairs that an atom can share with other atoms (covalence).

Fig 1

Hydrogen atoms (shown in red) are the smallest of atoms
aluminium atoms (in blue) are much larger, the H2 atoms cluster around the aluminium atoms and permute throughout the Al block

H2 atoms are attracted to and bond naturally with metal hydride materials. Therefore metal hydrides are solid alloys that hold and release hydrogen atoms. 

H2 solid state storage ceny

In fig 1 above the H2 atoms are bonding with aluminium atoms and like water into a sponge the atoms are gradually working through to the core of the solid block of aluminium alloy.

Solid state H2 storage is non-explosive; very safe and extremely low fire hazard.

The production methods and processes remain confidential intelligence; however the following is a good explanation and description of embodiments of our worldwide patent. The process begins by selecting and sintering the most suitable alloys for the particular application and purpose.

The specialised process takes the powdered materials and creates porous metal hydride (PMH); then the treated powder is uniquely sintered and transformed into a solid matrix and inserted into the containment vessel (Hydra-Pak). Hydrogen Introduced to the vessel is readily absorbed. In order to then release the hydrogen a heat source; waste heat, solar energy etc is introduced to the vessel. 

The containment vessel holds a novel matrix composite containing the porous metal hydride (PMH). The PMH is created by sintering mixed metal and hydride powder at very high temperature under pressure. This produces the porous compact. The PMH core is inserted into an external metallic skin and then bonded using a low melting alloy. Special bond strength is not required just metallic continuance. 

This is a specialised patented procedure, achieving the optimum thermal conductivity properties and unique thermal performance qualities together with dimensional stability. 

Only the metal matrix is bonded to the vessel wall. The bonding of the hydride material is absolutely not required as the hydride will expand and contract within the matrix when adsorbing hydrogen.

The micro matrix ensures that the hydride particles are held loosely in a micro porous structure without being practically bonded thereby allowing the pores sufficient volume for the hydride particles to expand and contract during the hydrogen adsorption/desorption cycles.

The matrix provides a highly stable environment for hydrogen preventing any deformation of the vessel.

The micro porous structure can be pictorially described as above with each individual cell holding a little of the PMH material and the tiny amounts of metal discreetly expanding and contracting inside an individual cell.

This prevents material compaction. 

Hydrogen energy production
Driving forces for change
The political will

Long-term support from the public authorities is required on several levels. They are firstly and in part responsible for defining an appropriate regulatory framework and standard. The public authorities are also at the very heart of the strategic decisions directing the developments of the national energy system, including power grids: the integration of hydrogen energy and fuel cells in this system requires this technology to be taken into account in these strategic decisions.

Finally, politically supporting this industry via investment support mechanisms and via increased awareness of the environmental issues involved with this technology, may contribute to reducing the economic and industrial risks that must be assumed by the stakeholders.

The Social impact

The impact of poor air quality on people’s lives will only increase unless change is brought about. 

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the social impacts on the day to day lives of people who have been affected by fire and flood are almost beyond quantification. The impact on people’s lives who have lost all that they own and have spent all of their life building is almost beyond imagination. In the coming months and years we shall see more of this activity, this will create a significant appetite for change. 

A number of air pollutants, coming out of a variety of industrial processes impact people’s health. ARB has set standards for eight ‘traditional pollutants,’ such as ozone and particulate matter. In addition to setting standards, CARB identifies other air pollutants as toxic air contaminants (TACs) – pollutants that may cause serious, long-term effects, such as cancer, even at low levels. Most air toxics have no known safe levels, and some may accumulate in the body from repeated exposures.

CARB has identified about 200 pollutants as air toxics, and measures continue to be adopted to reduce emissions of air toxics. Estimated total cancer risk from all air toxics is 730 per million. Of this total, 520 per million are due to diesel particulate matter. If PM2.5 were reduced to background levels, estimated health impacts avoided per year would be:

  • 7,200 premature deaths
  • 1,900 hospitalisations
  • 5,200 emergency room visits

Similarly, if diesel particulate matter were removed from the air, estimated yearly health impacts would be:

  • 1,400 premature deaths
  • 200 hospitalisations
  • 600 emergency room visits

Both traditional pollutants and toxic air contaminants are measured state-wide to assess programmes for cleaning the air. CARB works with local air pollution control districts to reduce air pollution from all sources.

Climate change will also pose risks to public health. Changes in our climate are leading to extreme high temperatures which could result in more heat-related sickness and deaths, increased allergens (such as pollen) will trigger worsened allergies, and increases in disease-carrying mosquitoes and other pests will cause elevated disease risk.

The technological driver

The technology to create change is here with us now. It is a game changer.

Through the design of the Hydra-Pak we are able to demonstrate how we can, reduce costs, improve the environment and over time have a serious impact on GHG emissions. 

However we know that hydrogen is not (yet) a familiar product among end users. Rather, for the vast majority of consumers, hydrogen and the technologies that use it are still new. Novel energy technologies require openness, a willingness to learn and familiarisation on the part of future users. 

We will need to work to therefore provide, education and the dissemination of relevant technological information if such technologies are to gain acceptance among users and in society as a whole. 

This requires appropriate communication strategies and formats for building experience and commitment. 

The economic impact

The economic and environmental costs of producing hydrogen compared to gasoline.

Hydrogen Gasoline
Source Water Crude oil
Supply Infinite Finite
Renewable Yes No
Carbon footprint None Yes
Cost per gallon $1.00 – 1.80 kg (gge) $2.32
Source costs $1.50 per 1000 gallons or $0.0015/gallon $101.14 per barrel or $1.98 per gallon
Refinery costs $700 – $3,500 BPD $1,000 – $5,000 BPD
Miles per kg hydrogen vs MPG 81 per kg 18 – 50 MPG
Additional environmental impact None Yes

The near term reduction and long term finite availability of oil means no dependence on other sources of oil reserves and the resultant strengthening of National Security.

The costs to produce a hydrogen station see the finance section. 

We can acknowledge that for sure our capital and maintenance costs will be significantly lower than the current costs. 

Legal

Legislation already plays an integral part in the Hydrogen Economy. This technology can play an integral part of the overall solution of, creating, storing and dispensing within the whole of the Hydrogen Economy. Once established will play a hugely significant part in helping to reduce some of the current legal restrictions imposed around, explosion risk, low fire hazards restricting locations available with the associated regulatory approvals, thereby opening up the market to more locations and cheaper costs.