Sunday, 3 February 2008

auto hydrogen fuel tank

An Israeli-Russian-German venture said it had developed a safe and lightweight hydrogen tank, overcoming a significant obstacle to the mass manufacture of automobiles operated by hydrogen fuel.
The venture, known as C.En, has completed a design and test programme aimed at producing the tank for use in cars, Moshe Stern, who leads the investors in the project, told Reuters on Thursday.
One of the biggest hurdles to building hydrogen-powered cars has been the safe and lightweight storage of hydrogen. Stern said C.En's technology solves three main storage problems: weight, volume and safety.
"We can build a 60-litre tank that can travel up to 600 km and weighs no more than 50 kg," Stern said, adding this compares with about 150-200 km for existing hydrogen cars. Unlike others working with hydrogen, C.En uses hydrogen gas rather than liquid.
"Our breakthrough is that we have succeeded in accumulating hydrogen in a glass material that is very small, only a few microns," said Stern, who is also president of Israeli waste treatment company Environmental Energy Resources (EER).
"You don't need to transport hydrogen to fuel stations and you don't need pipelines. The tanks will be like a battery that can be replaced and you can carry a reserve in the car."
He said this technology could also be used for laptops, mobile phones and military applications.
Long a centre for technological innovation, Israel is seeking to leverage that experience in the field of clean energy that has become popular due to soaring oil prices and pollution from heavy use of fossil fuels.

"It will help to achieve a practical solution for the hydrogen era," he said. "When you run out of fossil fuel you need another fuel source and you don't want everything to run on electricity. You also want a mobile source of chemical energy."
Storing hydrogen in the needed quantity has been one of the biggest obstacles to using it as a fuel source, as it has to be in a limited volume and weight, he said.
"It seems that they succeeded. Their tank is roughly the size and weight of a normal fuel tank," Riess said, noting that hydrogen fuel tanks currently in use are too heavy and therefore limited in how much they can store.

By Tova Cohen

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