Composite Overlay Pressure Vessels (COPV) -The Future of Pressure Vessels on the Move Transporation
Pressure vessels and even composite pressure vessels, are nothing new, so why the write-up? Energy storage has been the thorn in the side of the green energy evolution and especially so for the coming new green hydrogen economy. To just jump to the point, we know that when hydrogen burns, you get energy (heat) and byproducts of water vapor and air. Which is fantastic since it is zero carbon emission. The challenge has been the energy cycle of making hydrogen and storing it. The first part is being solved by gigantic off-shore wind turbines at around 10 MW and large installations of relatively inexpensive solar panels. When they can’t dump their energy to the grid, they use it to crack water into hydrogen. The second part of energy storage is being partly solved by the use of composite overlay pressure vessels (COPV) Type III and IV (metallic liner and polymeric liner) for fuel cells, vehicles, aviation and aerospace. What I would say, COPV on the move or when it needs to be lightweight and have high energy density (i.e., high-pressure).
Although Predictive has years of experience with the analysis of pressure vessels and composites, we have never tackled a COPV analysis prior to this most recent work. It was a wonderful combination of our skill sets from initial axisymmetric analysis, to developing the autofrettage analysis technique and then onward to a complete burst test with validation against client data. We also had a chance to perform a fatigue crack growth analysis using NASGRO to ensure that the COPV Type III aluminum liner would withstand the required thousands of pressurization cycles without catastrophic crack growth. It was a great project and everything passed CDR and someday the COPV will be on the move, whether into space or down the road.