Kiboko® All-Composite Tanks
In addition to its existing tank products, CTD is also developing related technologies for applications in aerospace and transportation systems. Examples of ongoing work for NASA and the Department of Energy are described below.
KIBOKO® Materials for Large Cryotank Applications
CTD is engaged in the development of novel, microcrack-resistant, polymer-matrix composite materials that will enable the manufacture of 5 to 10 meter diameter tanks for heavy lift vehicles. Because of the size of these tanks, the materials must be compatible with out-of-autoclave manufacturing methods. Ongoing efforts at CTD include material assessment at cryogenic temperatures, as well as Advanced Fiber Placement (AFP) fabrication methods. Kiboko® all-composite tanks offer a significant weight savings for future NASA missions, as well as various other applications in aerospace, defense, and transportation.
Low Cost Pressure Vessels for Hydrogen Storage Utilizing Low Cost Carbon Fiber
There is significant interest in exploring how the United States can reduce its dependence on imported oil and utilize more sustainable energy solutions for personal vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cells are an attractive alternative that can contribute to achieving these goals. One significant challenge with bringing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market is reducing the cost of on-board hydrogen storage tanks while continuing to provide a driving range of greater than 300 miles.
To meet this goal, CTD is developing graded composite tanks that utilize low-cost carbon fibers, such as those being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Graded structures are expected to offer a significant reduction in price as compared to currently-used composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPV), in which the cost of the carbon fiber alone can constitute over 60% of the total cost of the vessel.