3B glass fibers enable compressed natural gas tank production

3B, The Fibreglass Co. reports that GASTANK Sweden AB has developed a Type IV high-pressure cylinder that uses 3B's glass fiber, providing an alternative to steel and carbon fiber-based cylinders.

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3B, The Fibreglass Co. (Battice, Belgium) announced on July 8 that GASTANK Sweden AB has developed high-pressure cylinders for compressed natural gas (CNG) that use 3B HiPer-tex glass fibers and meet the stringent ECE R110 regulation governing the use of Type IV cylinders for motor vehicles.

CNG has risen strongly in popularity over the last few years and more than 11 million vehicles worldwide benefit from this abundant and environmentally beneficial fuel. Currently, many high-pressure tanks are made of steel, which is extremely heavy, adding significantly to the weight of the vehicle. Alternatively, 3B notes that lighter weight carbon fiber composites can be used, however, component cost can be prohibitive for some vehicles.

Professor Kurt Berglund, president of GASTANK Sweden AB, based in Piteå, Sweden, said, “HiPer-tex high-performance fibers enable the gap between heavyweight steel and high-cost carbon fiber composites to be bridged, due to its ability to deliver a comprehensive package of properties economically. This makes lighter weight, composite CNG tanks available to a much wider range of customers. This will consequently have an extremely positive impact on energy consumption and CO2 emissions as CNG continues to grow as a propulsion fuel.”

Hugues Jacquemin, CEO of 3B added: “Our unique HiPer-tex glass formulation, delivers a high level of performance in composite parts such as Windblades, Ballistic Armor and High pressure vessels or pipes while ensuring sustainable economics. We are very pleased at 3B to partner with GASTANK Sweden AB to develop a CNG tank that can withstand immense impacts and has extremely long term durability thanks to the high mechanical, fatigue and corrosion resistant properties of HiPer-tex™.”

3B says CNG as fuel is fitted to approximately 2 million cars per year with as many as four tanks installed per vehicle.