Composites Today

Magazine For Composites Professionals

Carbon fibre tank for transport of cryogenic and liquid cargoes of hydrogen and helium

Two years in the making, Australian composites manufacturer Omni Tanker in collaboration with international aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has developed a world-leading solution for the transport of cryogenic and liquid cargoes of hydrogen and helium, with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).

The collaborative partnership builds upon Omni Tanker’s expansive composite capabilities developed for use across its industrial transport portfolio. The company currently leads global manufacturing in lightweight, composite road tankers for caustic materials that are used and sold locally and exported to Europe, and North America from its Sydney base.

Pairing Omni Tanker’s capabilities with Lockheed Martin’s extensive aerospace experience led to the development and manufacture of two new tanks including a:

  • Type 4, fluoropolymer-lined, carbon fibre composite tank, and a
  • Type 5, liner-less, carbon fibre composite tank.

The tanks can store and transport liquid hydrogen, as well as oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, and hydrazine at high pressures under extreme cryogenic temperatures.

In testing, the tanks achieved their performance metrics, particularly when materials were exposed to cryogenic temperatures as low as minus 269 degrees Celsius. As a result of the successful project, operational-scale demonstrator versions of the tanks for Lockheed Martin’s LM2100 satellite have now been manufactured at Omni Tanker’s advanced manufacturing facility located in Sydney’s west.

Omni Tanker CEO and Founder Dr Daniel Rodgers said the $1.59 million project has taken the company’s world-leading capabilities to new heights. “By leveraging Omni Tanker’s capabilities, we have been able to translate our composites road tanker technology to the global space sector – where performance, weight, and cost are of paramount importance”, said Rodgers. “Omni Tanker can develop and deliver composites pressure vessels to meet demanding technical requirements quicker and at a lower cost than exotic materials, such as titanium, which are widely used in the space sector.” Rodgers said.