Metallurgy Research Centre

  • 24 de octubre de 2022

Developing the materials of the future for hydrogen transport

The main objective of the H2MAT project is to design, understand and control the physical and chemical nature of the interface between high entropy alloys (HEA) and steel, in the search for alternatives to the materials currently used to transport and storage hydrogen.

This outstanding research project seeks to develop new hybrid metal structures to be used along the value chain of the hydrogen (H2) industry. It is a disruptive bet that will make a qualitative leap in the field of materials used in the energy sector. The main objective of the project focuses on the design, manufacture, and evaluation of new multilayer structures, as a higher value-added alternative to the stainless steel currently used for hydrogen transport applications.

Depending on the state and conditions of the hydrogen (in terms of temperature, pressure, humidity, and level of impurities), nowadays components made of carbon fiber composite materials (storage tanks) and steel, both carbon-steels and stainless steels (pipes, valves ...), are mainly used for these applications. It is known that some types of steels, when in contact with H2-rich media, are sensitive to hydrogen embrittlement. This causes them to lose mechanical properties and, eventually, uncontrolled breakage is generated. To minimize hydrogen embrittlement issues, different strategies are applied, which, basically, consist of oversizing the components and applying surface coatings that delay the absorption of H2 in the steel.

Looking for alternatives for materials in contact with hydrogen, the H2MAT project aims to design, understand, and control the physical and chemical nature of the interface between high entropy alloys (HEA) and steel. Subsequently, a technical and economic evaluation of the new structures developed will be carried out, comparing them with those currentlyused for the transport of hydrogen. 

The project is led by MONDRAGON UNIBERTSITATEA, and is participated by  8 agents belonging to the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network, such as the technological centres members of BRTA AZTERLAN, CEIT and TECNALIA, the ENERGY CLUSTER, SIDENOR I+D, TUBACEX INNOVACIÓN and the UPV/EHU.  

H2MAT is funded by the Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment of the Basque Government (ELKARTEK 2022 Programme.