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Low-cost, hydrogen-powered forklifts with rapid refueling, zero emissions coming soon
Date:4/15/2014

rchase and store hydrogen tanks as needed."

Designing a storage system that meets HHC's specifications and can be integrated into a fuel cell power pack required overcoming some key challenges. Among these are identifying optimal metal hydride materials, determining an optimal shape and size for the storage tank and ensuring thermal management to achieve and maintain the temperatures required for fast refueling and supply of the hydrogen.

Work to identify the right metal hydride for the system focused on Hy-Stor 208, a misch metal-nickel-aluminum alloy that meets targets for hydrogen storage capacity, density and thermal conductivity. The material also provides sufficient hydrogen pressure for refueling at an operating temperature of 60 degrees Celsius.

While this type of metal hydride is heavy, the weight acts as needed ballast and thus is a benefit in forklifts. To increase thermal conductivity, the team also explored adding to the metal hydride two forms of expanded natural graphite, flakes and so-called "worms" because of their tubular shape.

Pratt and Narvaez drew on modeling and simulation results from an earlier project led by Sandia engineer Terry Johnson to identify a small-diameter tube as the best design for storing the metal hydride. They then varied several tube characteristics, such as the hydrogen distribution channel and the amount and type of thermal enhancement material used. Next, they conducted experiments to evaluate the effects of these variations on a range of performance parameters, including hydrogen storage capability, refill time, durability, discharge ability and residual capacity at a minimum discharge point.

"As the models predicted, we saw only minor differences in performance when we varied the graphite types. Likewise, the presence or absence of the hydrogen distribution channel had little effect on performance," said Narvaez. "These findings show that this application is not aggressively
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Contact: Mike Janes
mejanes@sandia.gov
925-294-2447
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Source:Eurekalert  

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