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DoE Funding Leads to New Hexagon Lincoln Hydrogen Trailer

truckAs the demand for hydrogen-powered vehicles increases, Nebraska-based Hexagon Lincoln, a company that  creates carbon fiber composite fuel tanks used to transport hydrogen, has developed a new trailer with financial support from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Hexagon’s new trailers (pictured) use high-strength composite vessels that haul more than 720 kilograms of hydrogen, more than double the amount of traditional steel tube trailers. The trailers provide storage needed to ship large amounts of hydrogen to fuel cell-powered cars, trucks, and buses throughout the country, according to the Energy Department.

Hexagon has more than doubled its workforce to 269 employees and added a fourth shift for 24-hour/7-days-a-week operation to accommodate growing demand for its tanks.

In November, HyperSolar, the developer of a technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and any source of water, said it was evaluating commercial methods for onsite hydrogen production at distribution points or fueling stations to meet the demand created by the launch of fuel cell cars next year from Hyundai, Honda and Toyota and other automakers.

At the LA Auto Show, which was also held in November, Hyundai announced plans to offer its next-generation Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle for the US market for $499 per month for a 36-month term, with $2,999 down, while the Honda FCEV Concept fuel-cell vehicle made its world debut. Toyota also announced plans to exhibit a fuel-cell vehicle.

According to research conducted by Pike Research in 2011, more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations for cars, buses and forklifts will be operational by 2020, up from just 200 stations in 2010. The firm projects that annual investment in hydrogen stations will reach $1.6 billion by 2010, with a cumulative 10-year investment of $8.4 billion. Demand for hydrogen as a fuel will rise from about  775,000 kg in 2010 to 418 million kg by 2020, according to the report.

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