USA: H2 Clipper, Inc. has been awarded U.S. Patent 11,236,864 on a new technology that solves the “last mile” problem of hydrogen distribution while assuring hydrogen purity. The patent for the company’s Pipe-Within-A-Pipe™ technology covers the system, method, and apparatus for safely and efficiently transporting hydrogen up to 1,000 miles inside virtually any existing oil and gas pipeline, water pipe, sewer line, storm drain, or other pipelines. This breakthrough technology provides the safest, most cost-effective, most readily deployable, and scalable way to address end-user delivery of fuel cell grade hydrogen.
Such lines run below ground under virtually every major city in the world. Having a reliable way to safely utilize them to distribute pure hydrogen effectively solves the problem of distributing fuel cell grade hydrogen from regional depots and local production facilities to where it can be used as a carbon-free replacement for gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and other fossil fuels.
“Solving the ‘last mile’ delivery problem is a big deal,” says Joe Powell, former Chief Scientist for Shell Oil Company, who led Shell’s R&D programs and served as Chair of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Technical Advisory Committee before joining H2 Clipper’s Advisory Board in 2021. “A major impediment to the commercial viability of hydrogen is the need for better solutions to the challenge of efficiently conveying hydrogen to distribution and dispensing sites and ultimately the end user, including factories, warehouses, transport vehicles, and perhaps even individual homes. H2 Clipper’s innovative technology can potentially provide a safe, efficient, and lower-cost way to do this.”
The novel approach covered by the patent utilizes flexible pipe rated for hydrogen use by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) with a 50-year useful life at 2500 psi. That pipe is located inside a slightly larger diameter one, referred to as a “safety pipe” that runs an inert gas in between the two pipes to constantly sweep for hydrogen molecules. With a capacity to preserve purity levels of 99.7% or higher, the new technology will help to ensure the required purity levels needed for use of hydrogen in fuel cell electric cars, buses, trucks, and locomotives.
H2 Clipper Founder and CEO, Rinaldo Brutoco, said, “With the safety pipe, sweeper gas, and our proprietary continuous monitoring system in place, hydrogen can be run inside nearly any existing pipeline without interfering with the continued commercial use of that line. Our Pipe-Within-A-Pipe will save companies and governments hundreds of billions of dollars by avoiding the construction of new hydrogen pipelines or retrofitting existing ones for hydrogen. Taken together, these measures will dramatically accelerate the hydrogen economy, which is our mission and commitment at H2 Clipper.”
“H2 Clipper’s innovation is critical to realizing decarbonization goals worldwide,” explains Bob Boyd, former Chair of the Hydrogen Industry Panel on Codes (HIPOC) and CGA Hydrogen Technology Committee and principal member of the NFPA-2 Hydrogen Technology Committee. “By utilizing pipes that are already rated for hydrogen use under ASME B31.12, all pipeline operators worldwide can begin to implement distribution networks of fuel cell grade hydrogen almost immediately.”
H2 Clipper intends to work with existing pipeline companies, pipe manufacturers, and large utility system integrators to deploy the technology as rapidly as possible. Additionally, H2 Clipper’s patent was filed under the International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), giving the company the ability to secure protection in over 130 countries. The company expects to file shortly for corresponding patents for all countries in the EU, as well as the UK, Australia, Korea, Japan, and China.
H2 Clipper’s other patented technology, a modern airship fleet the company refers to as a “Pipeline-In-The-Sky™,” currently represents the most efficient end-to-end and scalable way to transport hydrogen globally over long distances. Together, the two patented innovations provide a comprehensive infrastructure solution for long-distance transport and the “last mile” distribution of hydrogen worldwide.
H2 Clipper, Inc. is the developer of high-speed, “Pipeline-In-The-Sky” hydrogen-powered airships for long-distance global transport that use no fossil fuels and have a host of commercial and humanitarian applications, and of the new Pipe-Within-A-Pipe™ “last mile” distribution system to deliver pure hydrogen to end-users. Since 2008, the company has made significant strategic investments to research, develop, and patent core IP in modern airship design and regional solutions for the delivery of hydrogen, forming a global end-to-end hydrogen infrastructure.
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