TPC-H2-Storage – Hydrogen storage

Infrastructure development for thermoplastic fiber composite pressure vessels for hydrogen storage and transport

The project aims to develop lightweight construction methods for manufacturing fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) piping for hydrogen distribution and tanks for hydrogen storage in aircrafts. The focus is on systems for both, cryo-compressed (CcH2) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) distribution and storage. To maintain the required temperature of below -253°C, a double-wall FRP construction is used for the tank and the pipeline (Figure 1). The inner cylinder stores hydrogen and handles internal pressure, while the outer shell provides thermal insulation and connectivity to surrounding systems. The inner cylinder and outer shell are mechanically decoupled, allowing the tank/pipeline to serve as a structural load-bearing component, for e.g., a replacement for spar and stringers in an aircraft wing (Figure 2). For this purpose, an effective suspension and insulation system is being explored to keep the heat and load transfer away from the inner tank/pipeline.

The main focus at IVW is on the development of a tank/pipeline and a suspension system that is capable of absorbing the loads from the outer shell without transferring them into the inner tank. Structural foams are being explored for use as suspension system. Initial testing of a composite pipeline with foam suspension and N2 as a medium is under development. The project builds on the design of a novel lightweight hydrogen pressure tank patented at IVW. In the patented design, the loads in the carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), which occur due to the high pressure for storing CcH2, are transferred by metallic boss parts. The low temperature of CcH2 leads to the shrinkage of the metallic parts. To avoid the shrinkage and, therefore a leakage of the pressure vessel, the metallic parts are pre-tensioned. In the case of the LH2 distribution system, thin-walled braided FRP-pipes are planned for the inner pipeline due to low operating pressures.

Field of competence

Industry sectors

Project status

  • Current


Christian Becker

Wiss. Mitarbeiter Bauweisen

Nanoscale Structure and Property Imaging by Cutting Edge AFM Techniques

Atomic force microscopy is a technique that has been used for over 30 years to characterize the surfaces of various solids. It is a scanning probe microscopy technique, in which the interaction of a very fine tip (tip radius down to 10 nm) and the surface of the sample to be examined is determined pixel by pixel. The tip sits at the end of a cantilever, which is deflected by attractive or repulsive interactions between the tip and the sample. This produces an image of the topography, with the resolution essentially determined by the radius of curvature of the tip.

With the AFM "Dimension IconIR" from Bruker, procured within the project "EFRE - REACT TPC-H2-Storage", it is now not only possible to image the topography of surfaces. In addition, by implementing novel AFM measurement modes, the following local material properties can also be mapped:

  • Peak Force QNM: characterization of nanomechanical properties (deformation, DMT modulus, pull-off force, dissipation).
  • Nano-DMA: nanoscale characterization of viscoelastic properties (storage modulus, loss modulus, loss factor)
  • AFM-IR: nanoscale resolution IR spectroscopy in the 1800-800 cm-1 wavenumber range.
  • Nano-TA: nanoscale thermal analysis in the range of RT - 350 °C.

With the AFM, it is now possible to study and correlate the morphology of composite materials and their properties on a microscopic scale at the same location on the sample. This makes it possible to draw correlations to macroscopic material properties and gain a comprehensive understanding of them. The information obtained will provide new approaches for the development of composites with (multi-)functional properties and their manufacturing processes.

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Claudius Pirro

Scientific Staff Tailored Thermosets & Biomaterials


The project "TPC-H2-Storage - Infrastructure Development for Thermoplastic Fiber Composite Pressure Vessels for Hydrogen Storage and Transport" is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Union's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.