Hexagon’s California Approval a Boon for Hydrogen Refueling Market

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Hexagon has been granted approval for its ultra-high-pressure hydrogen ground storage tanks by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (CalOSHA).

The approval allows Hexagon’s 1034 bar (15,000 psi) composite pressure tanks to be used as hydrogen ground storage in California. These pressure vessels are typically used as the high-pressure bank in hydrogen refueling stations, the company explains. After vehicles with 700 bar tanks are filled from the medium storage (approximately 500 bar), the 1034 bar tanks will ensure the top filling up to 700 bar.

“We are glad to see the supplier base of hydrogen ground storage equipment expanding, particularly for the California market,” states Tim Brown, chief operations officer at FirstElement Fuel, a provider of hydrogen refueling stations in North America. “The introduction of such a lightweight product as this one can be especially useful in urban settings, where equipment footprint is critical. Lightweight tanks can be installed above grade: for example, above the hydrogen compression equipment, above the convenience store or above the gas island canopy, thus saving real estate.”

“The CalOSHA approval is a leap forward for hydrogen station applications,” notes Hartmut Fehrenbach, vice president of hydrogen distribution of Hexagon Purus. “The 20-year life provides ample time to generate a positive rate of return on one’s investment. Having only one requalification test during the life of the tank is valuable to station operators in terms of saving money and downtime.”

These tanks have been in service as ground storage at hydrogen stations in Europe and Canada for several years. Due to the Type 4 all-composite tank technology, this approval provides for a 20-year tank life, with only one requalification test required at year 15. This allows for minimized operating costs and maximized uptime, says Hexagon.

These are the same vessels that were recently permitted by the U.S. Department of Transportation at 950 bar (13,775 psi) for moving hydrogen on American roadways, making them a multi-application product.

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