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Japanese super-insulator facilitates cryogenic storage of hydrogen

  • Mar 22, 2023
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Japan-based Thermalytica achieved a breakthrough in the development of a super insulation material that significantly enhances the efficiency and cost-competitiveness of transporting and storing liquid hydrogen.

The patented material, TIISA (thermal insulation inflatable solid air) has high porosity and liquid-like fluidity, providing superior thermal insulation and heat shielding for applications such as liquid hydrogen logistics (both transport and storage), home window insulation, and EV battery thermal runaway mitigation. The technology is set to enter pilot production in Japan by April 2024.

TIISA is a unique silicon dioxide aerogel-like material developed by Rudder Wu, founder and CTO of Thermalytica, who has inked contracts with the Japanese government to validate its ability to reduce the amount of hydrogen boil-off losses from liquefied hydrogen storage.

In Japan, the lab scale production capacity of TIISA has reached 500kg per year. The planned pilot production capacity, set to be finished by the end of 2023 in Japan alone, will be over three tonnes. Thermalytica plans to expand commercial production to the US and Taiwan by 2025 to meet the growing demand for TIISA in these markets.

TIISA has an extremely low thermal conductivity, reaching as low as 1mW/mK at slightly reduced pressure. Additionally, when blended with conventional thermal insulation materials, the composite mixtures thermal conductivity decreases from 30-40 mW/mK to as low as 18mW/mK.

Insulation has also become a critical characteristic of materials to combat climate change and energy crisis. Applications of TIISA range from housing and construction, EV battery thermal runaway mitigation, cryogenic hydrogen transportation to national defense. The use of super insulation can help to keep liquefied hydrogen at an ultra-low temperature to reduce boil-off losses, enhancing air-conditioning efficiency, and accelerating the adoption of green energy.

Hydrogen transportation and storage is one of the promising use cases of TIISA. According to Thermalyticas estimates, the use of aerogel in hydrogen transportation and storage potentially represents US$45bn in market size by 2030. Additionally, the market size for aerogel in EV batteries is projected to be US$23bn by the same year.

Japan has made significant investments in improving the efficiency of transportation and storage of liquid hydrogen as part of the Japanese governments roadmap to carbon-neutrality. Similarly, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has also committed US$8 billion to establish regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) across the country.

Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Mar 22, 2023

Thank you for this post.

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