Composite winding technology for CNG storage in automotive applications

  • Shape adaptable, cellular high-pressure storage tank
  • Composite winding technology enables production of tanks with 30% more available volume
  • Winner at JEC Asia Innovation Awards – Category: Storage

In the automotive industry, natural gas is currently stored as CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) in cylindrical high-pressure tanks. In order to increase the range of vehicles, the available design space needs to be used more efficiently. The modular, shape adaptable, cellular high-pressure storage tank “CNG-DLR-Wabentank” shows the potential for increasing the range of CNG vehicles while reducing CO2 emissions compared to diesel or petrol vehicles.

Thin aluminium liners are overwound individually

A new development of German Aerospace Center, Germany presented at this years JEC Asia Innovation Awards uses a composite winding technology (polar winding of non-rotationally symmetric cells and 3D-winding) to produce the first ever fully manufactured modular and free shapeable high-pressure vessel, offering 30% more available volume.

CNG storage system

This patented tank concept creates the possibility of new space utilization with minimal weight gain due to the intensive use of optimally placed reinforcing fibers. Thin aluminium liners are overwound individually, connected to each other with a novel high-pressure joining concept and finally wound using a robot-assisted 3D-winding procedure. CNG vessels (operating pressure of 200-250 bar) no longer have to be built as rotationally symmetrical cylinders. The manufacturing process will be validated by November 2014 and the functional capability will be demonstrated by testing the first shape-adaptable gas vessel by January 2015.

Possible license holders could be car manufacturers, automotive suppliers, or companies working in the CNG tank industry and wishing to expand their business.

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