Hydrogen stored in a tanker

Composites and the Hydrogen Economy

Developing composite hydrogen storage solutions

Hydrogen is set to play an important role in our future energy mix. Advances in hydrogen technology and decreasing renewable energy costs, are making it easier and cheaper to produce 'green hydrogen'.

Low carbon hydrogen will help us decarbonise high-energy transportation and industry needs from HGVs to aircraft and glass to steel manufacture, so we can meet net zero emission targets and increase energy security. As an energy vector or 'carrier', hydrogen also offers new propsects for the efficient distribution of energy and it could also open up new energy trading opportunities. But there are challenges to accelerating the hydrogen economy.

Composite solutions for hydrogen storage

High-performing and sustainable hydrogen storage solutions is one of the technology barriers we need to overcome - and composites play an important role here.

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NCC composites for hydrogen innovation

Hydrogen pressure vessels

We are advancing the knowledge required to establish a dynamic UK supply chain, investing in hydrogen pressure vessel research and development to seed manufacture in the UK and progressing the technology to help it remain competitive in the future.

The NCC is developing technical knowledge on the design and manufacture of pressure vessels that will enable industry to reduce development cost and time. We are identifying the incremental technical improvements needed to support long-term competitiveness. We are investigating and trialling recycling methods for current tanks and exploring future tank technologies that will maximise recyclability.

Composite pipes for hydrogen

Composite smart pipes offer the potential to pipe hydrogen generated offshore to land, maximising the cost-effectiveness of hydrogen production. At the NCC, the cross-sector hydrogen team is working to minimise the barriers to deploying composite pipe solutions - a programme of work that will help establish a robust supply chain in the UK. As part of this programme, we are creating a clear path to achieve digital certification of hydrogen ready pipes and materials.

Cryogenic storage tanks

Working with industry, our goal is to develop the critical composites technology to enable high-cycle, flight worthy cryogenic tanks. Our cross-sector hydrogen team is collaborating with partners to advance engineering expertise in composite cryogenic storage systems that will support UK companies to enter into the market. We are also identifying the critical technologies we need to drive to maturity now that will enable growth in the UK hydrogen supply chain and identifying the next generation of technologies that will secure future commercial competitiveness.

Making hydrogen net zero

Hydrogen is an energy vector, which means energy has to be extracted or produced from hydrogen before it is transported and stored for us to use. To date, fossil fuels, in particular natural gas have been used to create hydrogen - so the first step we need to take to meet global warming targets is to produce we need to be producing green hydrogen.

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Global hydrogen ambitions

Nations across the world are implementing hydrogen strategies. The UK’s Hydrogen Strategy sets out a vision to kick-start a vibrant UK hydrogen economy by 2030. 

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