Low Cost Metal Hydride Hydrogen Storage System for Forklift Applications
Small Business Information
531 Cooke Street, Honolulu, HI, 96813
AbstractRecently, there has been a tremendous worldwide interest in the commercialization of energy efficient, environmentally friendly, hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles and devices. One of the key challenges in the development of fuel cell technology for these applications is the problem of onboard hydrogen storage. Currently, hundreds of thousands of battery-powered forklifts are used in factories and warehouses where it is desirable to operate zero emission vehicles. However, productivity concerns point to a need to replace batteries by PEM fuel cells (PEMFCs) as the power source in these vehicles. To date, commercial replacement units have been fit with ultra high-pressure (350 Bar) hydrogen gas tanks that carry severe safety risks. Solid-state storage of hydrogen in metal hydrides has long been explored as a safer alternative technology. The low, 1.2 hydrogen wt% of AB5 alloys precludes their utilization in many applications. However, the heavy weight of the class of hydrides is an advantage in forklifts that require counterbalance. In order to demonstrate the practical viability of the metal hydride based hydrogen storage in this application, Hawaii Hydrogen Carriers, LLC in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratory, seeks to develop metal hydride storage system that is optimized for operation with a PEMFC powered forklifts. The objective of Phase 1 of this project is to design a metal hydride based hydrogen storage system that can match the favorable cost, reliability, and refill time attributes of high-pressure storage tanks and offer clear advantages in safety, lifecycle, and storage capacity. Our focus will be to identify low cost components that will provide adequate performance which will be achieved by conducting extensive modeling and simulation. This effort will provide a solid framework for Phase 2, in which our models and materials selection will be verified experimental before proceeding tank construction and integration of the storage system in to real world applications. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The inherently safety and greater accessibility of the metal hydride storage system should attract an extremely wide range of end users. Thus development of this technology would enable a rapid market entry into the relatively unpenetrated, $3 billion per year market for PEMFC powered forklifts and eventual lead expansion into the $45 billion per year market for all low speed industrial vehicles including farm tractors, postal vehicles, and mining machinery
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