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Nylon has changed the course of history of apparel as a be-all synthetic fiber, and now it has evolved as a core material of hydrogen energy sector.
On Sept. 7, Hyosung TNC said that it has succeeded in the development and use of nylon as a material for hydrogen vehicles’ fuel tank liners with its homegrown technology, constituting a first breakthrough ever achieved by a domestic company.
Liner is a core part of a fuel tank used to prevent the leakage of stored hydrogen. Hyosung TNC-made nylon liners are lighter than existing metal or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liner and are effective at preventing gas leaks and shock resistance.
□ Lighter and safer than metal and effective at resistance against shock from difference in temperature
Nylon liner developed by Hyosung TNC is 70% lighter than metal liner and 50% lighter than HDPE liner. Based on the ability to prevent hydrogen leaks, it is more than 30% better than the metal alternative and more than 50% better than HDPE counterpart.
Existing metal liner is heavy and becomes more fragile when exposed to hydrogen for long, while its nylon counterpart is not exposed to the danger of being broken thanks to its low level of hydrogen absorption and air draft.
HDPE liner is used for a high-pressure (about 400 bars) container, but is not strong enough to withstand the pressure (700 bars) required for a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). In addition, a hydrogen container liner is required to withstand the abrupt difference in temperature associated with frequent hydrogen refueling. Nylon liner is very effective at this, withstanding the difference in temperature ranging from minus 40°C to 85°C.
□ Import substitution effect increasing to KRW 270 bil a year by 2030
Hyosung TNC’s success in the development of nylon as hydrogen fuel tank liner is a milestone, making it the first Korean business to secure the basis for making major strides in the nylon liner market, which has been dominated by overseas players.
According to H2 Research specializing in the survey of the hydrogen market, trucks with internal combustion engines will be barred from major downtown areas in Europe, starting in 2025, and the global hydrogen vehicle market will grow rapidly with the number of said vehicles produced increasing to about 1.05 million a year by 2030.
It is expected that the import substitution effect in the country’s nylon liner market will increase to about KRW 270 billion by 2030.
It is also expected that nylon will be more welcome as a hydrogen container liner with the expansion of diverse hydrogen mobility markets such as drones, trams, ships, UAM (urban air mobility), etc., let alone FCEV.
□ Completion of hydrogen value chain through its production, distribution, storage, and use
It is expected that success in the development of nylon liner will contribute to the completion of Hyosung’s hydrogen value chain.
Hyosung has established its hydrogen value chain through the following: △ full utilization of its top-notch supply capability using hydrogen refueling stations, △ construction of liquefied hydrogen plants and refueling stations, which will contribute to the prominence of the hydrogen economy, and △ production of carbon fiber, which is an essential material for fuel tanks of hydrogen vehicles.
Its success of in the development of nylon liners is expected to enable the Company to further its technological prowess with which to assume a leading role in global markets in terms of production/ distribution of hydrogen, let alone its storage and utilization.
□ Chairman Cho Hyun-joon said, “Fiber will evolve as a core energy material through synergy with our technological prowess.”
Hydrogen container, to which Hyosung TNC-made nylon is applied, passed the international quality (UN/ECE R134) test last June, thus proving its adequacy in function, quality, and technological advancement as a liner material. Going forward, Hyosung plans to carry out commercial tests in collaboration with hydrogen fuel tanks and vehicle manufacturers.
Hyosung also plans to expand the nylon liner application to commercial trucks’ tube trailers and CNG/ hydrogen ships headed for destinations around the world including the Antarctic and equator by broadening the scope of thermal resistance to minus 60°C - 90°C and providing shock resistance.
Hyosung TNC plans to expand the eco-friendly plastic material markets through the application of recycling nylon as a liner material, owing to its nylon recycling technology with the use of fishing nets thrown away into the sea, as the first business in the world to develop such technology.
In regard to the matter, Hyosung Chairman Cho Hyun-joon remarked, “Hyosung TNC’s development of nylon liner has ushered in the fiber sector, which has been regard as a declining sector, to be re-emerged into a core one in the high-tech hydrogen industry through innovative ideas and robust technological prowess. We, at Hyosung, will contribute to the development of the future eco-friendly energy sector by leveraging our technological prowess accumulated in advanced materials and fiber.”