MAST3RBoost (Maturing the Production Standards of Ultraporous Structures for High Density Hydrogen Storage Bank Operating on Swinging Temperatures and Low Compression) is a European project that aims to create an industry-ready solution for storing H2 at cryogenic temperatures (~-180 °C) and under compression (100 bar) by developing a new generation of ultraporous storage materials (activated carbons/ACs and metal-organic framework compounds/MOFs) for hydrogen-powered vehicles (road, rail, air and water transport).

The objective is to increase H2 uptake capacity by 30% and transfer laboratory-scale synthesis processes to industrial-scale manufacturing processes. This would bring significant advances to hydrogen storage capabilities and would be a major contribution to decarbonization.

With more than 1,000 million tons of CO2 emissions, the transport sector in Europe is already responsible for one third of climate-damaging CO2 emissions. Decarbonization of the mobility sector is therefore urgently needed, and fuel cell and hydrogen batteries (FCH) can make a decisive contribution to this as a drive solution, especially for larger vehicles such as trucks, buses, ships or trains. This is a not insignificant economic factor: experts estimate that the market in the European Union alone is worth EUR 130 billion.

The current state of the art for hydrogen storage on board vehicles is based on the compression of H2 at 700 bar and is currently 25 grammes of H2 per litre of storage volume. This is a very low figure, considering that the aim is to pack around 5 kg of H2 into a petrol-equivalent tank (80 kg/90 l) in the future. Because of the difficulties associated with efficient H2 storage, the number of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in circulation is rising only very slowly. The aim of MAST3RBoost is to achieve at least 40 grammes of H2 per litre. This is an important milestone that would help provide a real alternative to conventional climate-damaging internal combustion engines.

Based on a new generation of ultraporous materials such as activated carbon and high-density metal-organic framework compounds optimized by machine learning methods, the MAST3RBoost project aims to develop the world’s first adsorption-based demonstrator on a kg scale. To promote a circular economy, recycled raw materials will chiefly be used. The research and development process focuses on a life cycle analysis in order to minimize the overall environmental impact and to already improve the economic performance of the hydrogen storage system at the design stage.

The main contribution of AIT’s LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen is its expertise in wire-arc additive manufacturing (WAAM). Stephan Ucsnik, the AIT project manager, explains: “The demonstrator component, a new type of hydrogen tank, is to be manufactured at the LKR using WAAM. Special aluminium and magnesium alloys developed at the LKR will be used for this.”

The project, coordinated by Envirohemp, will run for four years and is supported by thirteen partners from eight different countries: Envirohemp S.L. (Spain); Contactica S.L. (Spain); Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain); CIDETEC Surface Engineering Institute (Spain); Spike Renewables SRL (Italy); EDAG Engineering GmbH (Germany); Nanolayers OU (Estonia); LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen GmbH (Austria); University of Pretoria (South Africa); Council For Scientific And Industrial Research (South Africa); Stellantis (Portugal); TWI (UK); University of Nottingham (UK).

Bild ©LKR