We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The Gas Testing Facility, located at the JRC's Petten site, carries out tests on high pressure vehicle tanks for hydrogen (H2) or natural gas (CH4).
The test consists of a fast filling (in less than 5 minutes) at the refuelling station followed by an emptying phase representing gas consumption.
This test is repeated several hundred times to simulate the typical life of tanks. During cycling, various parameters are monitored, such as temperature and deformation of the tanks as well the possible leakage or permeation of hydrogen, to evaluate their long term performance.
Storage of gases under pressure, including hydrogen, is a rather well-known technique. However the use of hydrogen tanks in vehicles, and in particular the challenge of using very high pressures, requires new safety and performance studies.
The JRC uses the Gas Testing Facility for carrying out tests on high pressure vehicle tanks for hydrogen (H2) or natural gas (CH4).
Typical tests are: Cycling tests: Vehicle tanks are repeatedly fast-filled using real gas and emptied slowly at least 1000 times to simulate their lifetime in a road vehicle. The maximum pressure is 350 bar and the filling time is less than 3 minutes. During this cycling process, the tank is monitored for leaks and permeation rates using a gas chromatograph.
The maximum pressure will be increased to 700 bar in the near future. Permeation tests: Tanks are filled up to 700 bar and the permeation of the system is measured as a function of time. It is possible to control ambient and tank temperatures up to at least 85ºC.
The testing of other high-pressure components such as valves and pipes is also possible.