3M and HD Hyundai KSOE Collaborate to Insulate Liquid Hydrogen Tanks for Storage and Transportation

March 11, 2024
The research will focus on creating a high-performance vacuum insulation system using Glass Bubbles from 3M

3M and HD Hyundai Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (KSOE) have signed a joint research project agreement to develop liquid hydrogen storage tanks using Glass Bubbles, a high-strength, low-density hollow glass microsphere from 3M. The research will focus on creating a high-performance vacuum insulation system for liquefied hydrogen storage and transportation.

Many consider hydrogen technology a major factor in the future of clean energy, but successfully storing and transporting liquid hydrogen will be crucial to its viability.

When hydrogen is transported as a liquid instead of a gas, it can be reduced to 1/800th of its original volume. However, hydrogen is liquified at temperatures of -253°C, so transportation requires a high-performance insulation system for the tanks and the main materials involved.

Under the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on insulation and construction workability evaluations, demonstrations, and classification approvals for applying 3M's Glass Bubbles to HD HHI's advanced thermal insulation system for hydrogen storage tanks.

They also expect to capture the initial volume of orders for high-value-added ships based on ultra-gap technologies and further strengthen the domestic shipbuilding industry's competitiveness.

"This collaboration is a major step forward in the pursuit of making hydrogen technologies available at scale," said Brian Coleman, 3M's Advanced Materials Division president. "3M's glass bubbles offer significant advantages over traditional cryogenic insulation materials when it comes to thermal efficiency and durability."