The IMT Nord Europe receives a €10 M grant to run the project ECOHYDRO

ECOHYDRO IMT hydrogen tanks resin
The IMT Nord Europe receives a €10 M grant to run the project ECOHYDRO

Based in Douai (northern France), the engineering school has obtained a grant from the European Commission to develop more cost-efficient and sustainable hydrogen tanks, using a composite material, over a 4-year period. An international research project will be coordinated.

The project is called ECOHYDRO (ECOnomic Manufacturing Process of Recyclable Composite Materials for Durable HYDROgen Storage) and has been awarded €10 million in funding from Brussels as part of the Horizon Europe / Clean Hydrogen programme’s “Advanced materials for hydrogen storage tanks” call for projects. It brings together a consortium of 15 partners in 7 countries (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, the UK, Poland and Turkey).

This project is led by IMT Nord Europe, which has a materials and processes centre for teaching, research and innovation (CERI in French). It brings together another French academic partner (IMT Mines Alès) and a number of industrial partners, including Airbus, Mahytec, Arkema, Electra Commercial Vehicles, the FEV group and Temsa Skoda.

A resin with a wide range of properties

Ecohydro will enable a new recyclable thermoplastic resin to be fitted to the tanks. This resin is developed by Arkema and is called Elium. It also features new functionalities, such as auto-repairability and fire resistance. The project will also make it possible to develop a new, more cost-effective filament winding process for manufacturing hydrogen tanks. It also includes digital models to estimate the residual life of the tanks (using Structural Health Monitoring technology, integrated sensors and artificial intelligence algorithms). Above all, the aim is to develop a new composite recycling technology to recover carbon fibres from worn-out tanks and reuse them to manufacture new parts.

The project will lead to three demonstrators, all linked to gaseous hydrogen: refuelling stations, convoy trucks and transport between various storage sites. The consortium also aims to develop a fourth demonstrator for the aviation sector, dedicated to cryogenic liquid hydrogen storage.

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Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

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About the author

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Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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