Hollow Carbon Fiber for Low-Cost High-Strength Compressed Gas Storage Tanks

Grants and Contracts Details


The Development of Hollow Carbon Fiber as a Low-Cost, High Specific Tensile Property Material for Compressed Gas Storage Tanks DE-FOA-0002229 Topic 2: Advanced Carbon Fiber for Compressed Gas Storage Tanks PI: Matt Weisenberger Co-I: Ashley Morris Co-I: Rodney Andrews H2@Scale is a DOE initiative that supports innovations to produce, store, transport, and utilize hydrogen. A major focus area is the reduction in carbon fiber (CF) cost to allow for lower cost compressed hydrogen and natural gas storage in hydrogen or compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles. CF composites can contribute over half of the cost of the tank. T700S is the baseline commercial fiber used for tank production, and its price in 2019 ranged from $26-30/kg CF. To achieve the DOE ultimate target of $8/kWh for hydrogen, CF must be reduced to approximately $13-15/kg CF. To reduce the cost of high tensile strength CF, reductions will be required in both the precursor and conversion processes. UK CAER, through a previous DOE funded effort (DE- FOA-0001647), has developed novel hollow carbon fibers (HCF) which are cheaper to produce compared to traditional solid CF due to their reduced polymer per length and faster oxidation. Additionally, the specific tensile properties (specific tensile strength and specific elastic modulus) are enhanced due to the reduced effective density of the fibers. In order to further optimize the performance and cost benefits of UK CAER HCF compared to T700S in a compressed gas storage tank, we propose the following approach to meet the metrics set forth for Phase I: 1) Maximization of carbon fiber strength a) Defect identification and mitigation strategies b) Maximizing strain to failure 2) Hollow fiber spinning scale-up a) 100 count b) 500 count 3) Novel hollow fiber accelerated oxidation a) Utilization of the lumen 4) Continuous thermal conversion a) Oak Ridge National Lab 5) System cost analysis a) Strategic Analysis Inc. During Phase II, the objectives will include scale-up of fiber spinning and thermal conversion to 12,000 filaments, followed by manufacturing and testing of prototype gas storage tanks, as well as consideration of end-of-life reuse and recyclability. Subcontractors to UK for Phase II will include Strategic Analysis Inc., Steelhead Composites, and Solvay Carbon Fibers.
Effective start/end date10/1/209/30/23


  • Department of Energy


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