Investigating the use of phase-change materials for temperature control during fast filling of hydrogen cylinders

Vishagen Ramasamy*, Edward Richardson, Philippa Reed, Warren Hepples, Andrew Wheeler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the use of phase-change materials in the process of fast filling of hydrogen cylinders in order to limit the rise in the gas temperature by enhancing heat transfer from the gas. It is necessary to limit the temperature rise because the structural performance of the cylinder materials can be degraded at higher temperatures. Initially, two computational approaches for modeling the fast filling of hydrogen cylinders are presented and validated; the first is an axisymmetric computational fluid dynamics simulation and the second is a single-zone approach with one-dimensional conjugate heat transfer through the cylinder walls. The models are applied to study fast filling of a hydrogen-powered passenger car. The predictions show that the minimum safe fill time for Type III cylinders with aluminum liners is generally shorter than for Type IV cylinders with plastic liners, for given ambient and precooling temperatures. Alternatively, Type III cylinders require less precooling for a given fill time. Introduction of a phase-change material heat sink is assessed as a means of reducing the fill time for Type IV cylinders. Paraffin-based phase-change materials are considered. The predictions show that the use of pure paraffin wax does not help in reducing the gas temperature due to its low thermal conductivity, however materials with improved thermal conductivity, for example, mixtures of paraffin wax and graphite, can facilitate reduced fill times. Without use of phase-change material it is not possible to reduce the fill time of Type IV cylinders below three minutes unless the gas supply is precooled. While the fill time can be reduced by precooling the gas supply, the phase-change material reduces the degree of precooling required for a given fill time by 10–20 K, and reduces the minimum theoretical power consumption of the cooler by 50–100%, depending on the ambient temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-97
Number of pages25
JournalHigh Temperature Material Processes
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cfd
  • Compressed hydrogen storage
  • Conjugate heat transfer model
  • Enhanced heat transfer
  • Hydrogen cylinders
  • Phase-change materials
  • Toyota mirai


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