South Korea-based Hanwha Solutions recently joined Shell’s efforts to build hydrogen refueling infrastructure in California. By supplying Shell with high-pressure hydrogen tanks for transport within its network of stations, Hanwha says it will help accelerate the Golden State’s energy transition and decarbonization efforts.
Hanwha Cimarron, Hanwha’s hydrogen tank manufacturing subsidiary in Huntsville, Ala., recently finalized a purchase order with Shell to provide its Neptune Type IV high-pressure hydrogen tanks, the company said. The carbon fiber-reinforced, 2,000-liter (528-gallon) vessels can store hydrogen at a pressure of 517 bar, which is the largest pressure level among Type IV tanks.
Another strength of Neptune comes from its anti-buckling technology, which can fully extract hydrogen without causing internal damage, Hanwha said. Given that most Type IV high-pressure tanks can shrink when stored full, they often have one-tenth of storage capacity in reserve. The Department of Transportation, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and other state agencies have certified Neptune for its strength in transportation and storage.
Cimarron’s supply of hydrogen tanks will support Shell’s efforts to extend its hydrogen refueling network across California. The state is emerging as a hydrogen hub in the U.S., with 52 out of 66 refueling stations in the country operating there. According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global hydrogen energy storage market is projected to reach $119 billion by 2027, and North America will constitute about 13% of the global market volume.
“This supply contract is a great foundation for our collaboration with Shell and our efforts to expand our presence in the U.S. hydrogen market,” said Ryoo Du-hyoung, who heads Hanwha’s Advanced Materials Division. “We are also expanding hydrogen tank business in Europe, including Germany, to attract more clients globally.”
Acquired by Hanwha in December 2020, Cimarron—formerly known as Cimarron Composites—was founded by NASA scientist Tom Delay. The company is looking to scale its business through a $51 million investment plan to build a high-pressure tank manufacturing facility in Opelika, Ala., that is underway, the company added. Upon completion, which is expected later this year, the factory will produce up to 4,000 high-pressure tanks per year.
In 2021, Cimarron signed a deal with Texas-based energy company Sunbridge Energy Services to provide storage tanks for compressed natural gas (CNG). The $260 million deal aims to deliver tube trailers containing “dozens” of vessels that can store CNG and other pressurized gases, such as hydrogen.