BACKGROUND

Hydrogen is a key element in energy transition due to its great potential to help decarbonise the economy and reduce fossil fuel imports, enabling a higher penetration of renewable energy into the energy mix and a large contribution to circular economy.

Thanks to the potential applications of hydrogen in basic sectors such as energy, industry and transport, it will become a key element in the global economy over the next few decades, as countries work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as per the Paris Agreement, in line with the EU’s pledges to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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At present, components made of carbon fibre composites and carbon and stainless steels are mainly used to storage transport hydrogen, depending on the hydrogen conditions in terms of temperature, pressure, humidity and impurities.

Nevertheless, some types of steel are sensitive to hydrogen embrittlement if they come into contact with H2-rich media, which causes them to lose mechanical properties and eventually, to uncontrolled breaks. Different strategies are used to minimise the hydrogen embrittlement problem, but basically they consist of oversizing components and applying surface coatings that delay H2 from getting into the steel.

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High Entropy Alloys (HEA),such as Cantor, do not present the hydrogen embrittlement issue, and can increase the service life of certain types of carbon or stainless steels. In fact, some HEAs, such as Cantor, even show a slight improvement in mechanical properties in the presence of hydrogen. However, since the use of HEAs is limited both by the complexity of the processing pathway to reach final components and by their cost, there are no industrial applications for HEAs at present.