Hydrogen might be the lightest element, but you’d be hard pressed to find a heavier hitter among research drivers. Its potential as a clean, renewable fuel is universally recognized, and the technological challenges associated with how best to make, store and use hydrogen are fertile ground for scientists.
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, Calif.) are among the many taking notice. The lab is partnering with SRI International (Menlo Park, Calif.) to explore, test and evaluate hydrogen and natural gas fuel systems and components for transportation applications.
According to a press release, the partnership is the first based at Sandia’s new Center for Infrastructure Research and Innovation (CIRI), an alternative-fuel research facility aimed at accelerating commercialization of hydrogen and natural gas infrastructure technologies. Located at the Labs’ Livermore Valley Open Campus, CIRI will make use of Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility to drive work in a variety of areas, including:
• High-pressure system/component durability testing
• Destructive testing of components and systems
• Fire engulfment/impingement testing
• Life-cycle testing
• Risk assessments of hydrogen infrastructure
• Advanced storage technology
• Hydrogen and natural gas release experiments
• Evaluation of material/component/system failure modes.
To further advance and streamline hydrogen-related materials research, Sandia announced its Technical Reference on Hydrogen Compatibility of Materials has made its debut on the Energy Dataset of OpenEnergyInfo (OpenEI).
The database has been available on Sandia’s web page for several years, but now the information is more widely available and easier to access, according to Sunita Satyapal, director of the US Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office.
“The Technical Reference is a valuable tool for the hydrogen delivery and storage industries,” Satyapal said in a news release. “It can help eliminate R&D redundancies by providing extensive compatibility data to the broader industry.”
The small size of hydrogen molecules allows them to seep into materials at room temperature and promote embrittlement. DoE’s database covers the effects of hydrogen on a range of engineering materials, including effects on yield and tensile strengths, fracture toughness and fatigue crack initiation and propagation.