The company wants to establish Australia’s first hydrogen vessel manufacturing facility, adding to the two specialist composite manufacturing facilities it already operates near Sydney. The joint venture with Optimum Composite Technologies will enable this vision, the company said, by giving it access to technical expertise for composite pressure vessels, which store hydrogen and natural gas.
The partnership will also give CST Composites greater access to US markets, allowing it to leverage Optimum’s US facilities, customer base and supply chain. In turn, CST Composites will expand its core capabilities in filament winding technology to support the growth of Optimum’s business in designing and producing composite pressure vessels.
“High-pressure gas storage vessels is one of the biggest and fastest-growing markets globally for advanced composites, particularly for filament-wound carbon fibre composites,” said CST Composites Managing Director Clive Watts.
The company says its plan will help advance Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy, which has highlighted the need to develop the country’s supply chain infrastructure, including hydrogen storage tanks. It says it plans to secure government funding, as Australia is supporting the industry to become a global hydrogen superpower.
“We will be applying for the grants and financial support available to advance our projects, which focus on the innovative design and development of hydrogen and CPV [composite pressure vessel] products,” Watts said. “We are planning to make a significant investment to grow our new joint venture.”
Companies are starting to build manufacturing facilities for hydrogen tanks. For instance, South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions acquired US hydrogen storage tank manufacturer Cimarron Composites in December 2020.