There is growing excitement over graphene among those working to store and transport hydrogen. Hydrogen promises to be a key player in transitioning towards greener economies – yet it can be difficult to contain cost-effectively.

Enter graphene. With distinctive properties including high ‘barrier performance’, or impermeability, and being extremely conductive, this nanomaterial is well-placed to be used in manufacturing new composite materials that could help store and transport hydrogen safely and effectively.

Recognising this potential, Graphene Flagship partner Graphmatech AB has been developing thermoplastic masterbatches carrying graphene, specifically for use in contexts where these masterbatches will be employed to manufacture products such as pressure vessel liners for hydrogen storage. Graphmatech is a Swedish materials technology company that invents, develops, and sells graphene-based materials.

Graphmatech representatives Niclas Westerlund and Torkel Nord Bjärneman noted that the company’s new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) masterbatch has strong potential to be useful within the plastics industry.

“Hydrogen is known to be difficult to store and transport as the molecule tends to escape through the materials used, hence leaking out into the atmosphere,” said Niclas Westerlund, Account Manager at Graphmatech.

“HDPE is commonly used as the gas barrier layer for Type IV pressure vessels – but permeation is an issue. This means that many customers use polyamide; however, this material is more expensive and can be harder to process than polyethylene.”

“We are excited to have discovered that when we mix graphene into virgin polyethylene and other plastics, we make these materials less permeable, amongst other improvements. This will open new possibilities to create products integral to the hydrogen economy,” said Torkel Nord Bjärneman, Business Development Manager at Graphmatech.

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