The Basque H2MAT consortium will develop materials of the future for transporting hydrogen

Oct 3, 2022 | Activities

The project began in March 2022 with a consortium led by MONDRAGON UNIVERSITY and made up of seven other partners of reference from four different types of actors in the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network.

The H2MAT project aims to develop hybrid metallic structures for use in the hydrogen (H2) industry. This is a disruptive approach that is aimed at making a qualitative leap forward in the field of materials for this energy vector. The main aim of the project is focused on designing, manufacturing and evaluating multilayer structures as a higher value-added alternative to the stainless steel currently used in applications for transporting hydrogen.

At present, components made of carbon fibre composites (storage tanks) and carbon and stainless steels (pipes, valves, etc.) are mainly used to transport hydrogen, depending on the hydrogen conditions(temperature, pressure, humidity and impurities). It is known that some types of steels are sensitive to hydrogen embrittlement, if they come into contact with H2-rich media, which causes them to lose mechanical properties and, possibly, 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.

The H2MAT project is looking for alternatives to traditional materials that can come into contact with hydrogen and is aiming to design, understand and control the physical and chemical nature of the interface between high entropy alloys (HEA) and steel. It will then carry out a technical and economic assessment of the structures obtained, comparing them with the current stainless steel structures for transporting hydrogen.

The project is coordinated by the MONDRAGON UNIVERSITY and will involve the participation of seven other partners from the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network, namely: AZTERLAN-BRTA, CEIT-BRTA, SIDENOR I+D, TECNALIA-BRTA, TUBACEX INNOVACIÓN, the UPV/EHU and the BASQUE ENERGY CLUSTER.

H2MAT is a perfect fit in ENERGIBASQUE, the Basque energy sector’s technological and industrial development strategy. It aims at supporting the development of new solutions, equipment and components by Basque companies in the different areas of hydrogen vector development, i.e. generation, transportation, distribution, storage and end applications. It also seeks to contribute to the development of unique initiatives and projects that make it possible to take advantage of new opportunities in the hydrogen economy, based on the competitive advantages of the Basque industrial fabric and the existing knowledge of the scientific-technological actors. More specifically, the project is aligned with one of the areas and technological lines identified in the strategy: The development of solutions against H2 embrittlement, loss of ductility and accelerated fatigue in ducts.