Zero Co2 emissions: Cryotank technology “made in Austria” as a game changer

New study on the compatibility of liquid hydrogen storage tanks with different drive concepts presented

EU climate protection laws stipulate that around half of all newly produced motor vehicles must be equipped with zero-emission drives by 2030. To achieve this goal, hydrogen will play an important role in commercial transport, especially hydrogen in liquid form (LH2). In order to optimally use LH2 as a fuel, the R&D experts of the Salzburg Aluminium Group have developed an efficient hydrogen cryo-tank system for trucks with fuel cell drives, which simultaneously offers flexibility, economic efficiency and zero emission on the long haul. In addition to its environmental friendliness, other advantages speak in favour of LH2: a long range and short refuelling time. Additionally, LH2 – compared to gaseous hydrogen – requires a much lower storage pressure, which brings enormous technical advantages. In a next development step, the SAG experts are now researching storage solutions that function with different supply pressures and can be used in trucks with both fuel cells and combustion engines. SAG has summarised the technical requirements in a compatibility study and recently presented these results to an international audience of experts at the 43rd Vienna Motor Symposium for the first time.

Free download of the study at SAG cryo tanks for liquid hydrogen

Johannes Winklhofer, SAG development manager and co-author of the study, explains: “Different hydrogen drive concepts require different supply pressures. These range from less than 10 bar for battery-powered fuel cells to 300 bar for high-pressure direct injection in an internal combustion engine. We have researched the technical requirements of this broad range of pressures and presented in our study what technology is needed to be able to provide supply pressures for different propulsion concepts in cryogenic liquid hydrogen storage systems.”

Emission-free truck transport with LH2 – a reality by 2030

Hydrogen – when produced using green electricity – offers a CO2-neutral fuel alternative. The only “by-products” of the conversion of hydrogen into drive energy are water and heat. Fuel cell propulsion using liquid hydrogen in particular is exceptionally efficient due to its high energy density. This is shown by a comparison with other zero-emission solutions – such as gaseous hydrogen, synthetic fuels or battery electricity.

Small space requirement combined with low net weight of our LH2 tank system for trucks enables a high loading volume with extremely low payload loss. Another decisive factor for LH2 is the high energy density of LH2, which enables long ranges. A truck equipped with two liquid hydrogen tanks of maximum size registered in Europe will be able to cover up to 1000 kilometres after a full tank. The development of the SAG cryo-tank system is already virtually complete. The first test phases are underway. Series production is expected to start within the next three years.

Cryogenic tank technology for aviation

According to many experts, liquid hydrogen will also become established in the future as an emission-free alternative to fossil fuel in aviation. SAG’s cryotank technology can also make a valuable contribution to zero emissions in this area. “Our LH2 cryotank technology is also suitable for use in aircraft. There is interest from the industries and the first development steps are underway. For our development teams this is a great challenge which we are facing with full enthusiasm. It goes in parallel with the further development of the cryo tank system for other applications. Our aim is to contribute to zero emissions in many areas with our solutions soon,” concludes Karin Exner-Wöhrer, CEO of the SAG Group.

SAG: Global Player with a Local Footprint in Nine Countries and at 12 Locations

The Salzburger Aluminium Group (SAG) is an Austrian family-owned company with 1100 employees worldwide at 12 locations in Europe, Mexico, the USA and Canada. The headquarters of the company – which goes back to Salzburger Aluminium AG founded in 1898 – is in Lend/Salzburg. Other SAG locations in Austria are in Schwarzach/Pongau and Vienna. SAG has subsidiaries in Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Mexico, the USA and Canada. As the market leader for aluminium tanks for trucks, SAG is a global supplier to many well-known OEMs. Other products include lightweight components for chassis, air reservoirs, compressed air tanks and special components for the passenger car, commercial vehicle, railway and special vehicle industries. The company is technology leader in the field of cryogenic tanks for LNG & LH2 (liquid natural gas & liquid hydrogen) and was the first company to bring rheocasting (a special casting process for aluminium components) to series maturity. The export quota is over 90 percent. Customers include large truck producers and car manufacturers as well as OEMs in the railway industry and special vehicles sectors. The turnover of the entire group amounted to 207 million euros in 2021.

In 2020/21, SAG Group was honoured as a “Leading Innovator” with the GreenTech Award. Reason for the nomination is SAG’s numerous patents for innovations that make a significant contribution to climate protection.

Press contact:

SAG Salzburger Aluminium Group

Andrea Pfennigbauer

+43 664 60650 2043