Automotive: Efficient Gas Storage Vessel Designs Help Meet Global CO2/mpg Targets

This guest contribution on Innovation Intelligence is written by Jo Hussey, Sales & Marketing at Componeering, developers of ESACompComponeering is a member of the Altair Partner Alliance.

In 2025, the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy fleet average MPG target is 54.5, whereas Europe’s 2021 fleet average target is 95g/km CO2 Emission. As transportation industries aim to meet these stringent requirements by light-weighting vehicle structures and examining power train efficiencies, the benefits of alternative fuels for motive power systems also remain under the spotlight.

With global annual NGV “Natural Gas Vehicle” sales expected to grow from 2.5 million vehicles in 2014 to 4.3 million in 2024, high-pressure gas storage vessels are one of the rapidly-growing markets for advanced composites. These vessels can be used for on-vehicle storage but also within the road, rail and marine infrastructure to provision “Compressed Natural Gas” CNG-powered vehicles worldwide. In 2013, carbon fibre destined to manufacture pressure vessels already accounted for about 7% of global fibre demand and looks to rise significantly as the vehicles roll off the production lines.

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In general terms, the greater the proportion of composite in the pressure vessel construction, the higher the weight savings compared with conventional all steel vessels. Evolution saw a gradual introduction of composite: from overwrapping on metal liners, to overwrapped plastic liners and eventually liner-free, all composite types. The downside is the increased cost of composite vessels compared with steel.

Whereas traditional pressure vessels have proven design and verification procedures specified in recognized industry standards, use of composites, however, does not fit easily within. This leads to overdesign, compromising weight savings, driving up both product material costs and causing long, expensive design-development cycles.

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So, to maximize potential weight-savings and minimize material costs needs careful material selection and design optimization whilst ensuring safety and durability. This is where simulation comes in…..

By working together, developing the winding pattern to make the part with structural analyses cuts design-development times by showing up any potential, expensive problems before a prototype gets made and sent for testing. This is the ComposicaD – ESAComp approach developed by the engineers at SSA (Seifert and Skinner & Associates) and Componeering Inc.

Click here to find out more about the ESAComp-ComposicaD solution.

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