A BAM employee holds a burst yellow pressurised gas container in his hands.

BAM testing engineer André Schoppa with a burst container after the Slow Burst Test.

Source: BAM/Thomas Köhler

Storage systems that can hold energy in the form of chemically reactive materials, such as flammable gases in large quantities, will be ever more important as the energy transition progresses. Hydrogen, which can also be obtained from excess power from solar power installations or wind turbines (Power-to-Gas), plays a significant role. In order to establish hydrogen as an energy storage system, a safer and more efficient means of transporting the highly flammable gas needs to be found. Therefore BAM is working on further developing the safety standards of pressurised gas containers, known as composite hydrogen storage systems (CH storage).

Establishing durability through the testing processes

In order that CH storage can be deployed safely, it is hugely important that we have a scientifically-based determination of its possible lifespan. However, depending on the material, the usual testing processes such as the simple burst test or the hydraulic Load Cycle Test (LCT) do not provide much useful information in this respect." BAM has therefore developed the Slow Burst Test (SBT), which allows conclusions to be drawn about the lifespan," explains Dr. Georg Muir from BAM's Containment Systems for Dangerous Goods Division. In this test, the CH storage system is subjected to a precisely defined, slow increase in pressure. For more than ten hours, the internal pressure is slowly increased under stable environmental conditions, until it bursts. The time taken until it fails and also the pressure of the burst are captured statistically. The higher the average and the smaller the dispersion the less likely it is that it would fail during use.

BAM testing engineer André Schoppa shuts a pressurised gas container into the testing plant.

BAM testing engineer André Schoppa prepares a Slow Burst Test. During the test, the testing pressure in the pressure vessel is slowly increased until it bursts.

Source: BAM/Thomas Köhler

BAM's know-how is in demand

The development of the SBT means BAM is setting high standards for safety in technology and chemistry in Germany. The process has already been adopted in regulations at the national level. BAM's goal is to be able to predict with ever greater precision the life expectancy of CH storage systems, and to be able to test these predictions scientifically with the manufacturer in an increasingly efficient way.