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Frontiers in Energy

Front. Energy    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (3) : 570-577
A novel cryogenic insulation system of hollow glass microspheres and self-evaporation vapor-cooled shield for liquid hydrogen storage
Jianpeng ZHENG1, Liubiao CHEN2(), Ping WANG3, Jingjie ZHANG3, Junjie WANG1(), Yuan ZHOU1
1. Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Cryogenics, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Beijing 100190, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
2. Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Cryogenics, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Beijing 100190, China
3. Chinese Academy of Sciences State Key Laboratory of Technologies in Space Cryogenic Propellants, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Beijing 100190, China
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Liquid hydrogen (LH2) attracts widespread attention because of its highest energy storage density. However, evaporation loss is a serious problem in LH2 storage due to the low boiling point (20 K). Efficient insulation technology is an important issue in the study of LH2 storage. Hollow glass microspheres (HGMs) is a potential promising thermal insulation material because of its low apparent thermal conductivity, fast installation (Compared with multi-layer insulation, it can be injected in a short time.), and easy maintenance. A novel cryogenic insulation system consisting of HGMs and a self-evaporating vapor-cooled shield (VCS) is proposed for storage of LH2. A thermodynamic model has been established to analyze the coupled heat transfer characteristics of HGMs and VCS in the composite insulation system. The results show that the combination of HGMs and VCS can effectively reduce heat flux into the LH2 tank. With the increase of VCS number from 1 to 3, the minimum heat flux through HGMs decreases by 57.36%, 65.29%, and 68.21%, respectively. Another significant advantage of HGMs is that their thermal insulation properties are not sensitive to ambient vacuum change. When ambient vacuum rises from 103 Pa to 1 Pa, the heat flux into the LH2 tank increases by approximately 20%. When the vacuum rises from 103 Pa to 100 Pa, the combination of VCS and HGMs reduces the heat flux into the tank by 58.08%–69.84% compared with pure HGMs.

Keywords liquid hydrogen storage      hollow glass microspheres (HGMs)      self-evaporation vapor-cooled shield (VCS)      thermodynamic optimization     
Corresponding Author(s): Liubiao CHEN,Junjie WANG   
Online First Date: 30 August 2019    Issue Date: 14 September 2020
 Cite this article:   
Jianpeng ZHENG,Liubiao CHEN,Ping WANG, et al. A novel cryogenic insulation system of hollow glass microspheres and self-evaporation vapor-cooled shield for liquid hydrogen storage[J]. Front. Energy, 2020, 14(3): 570-577.
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Jianpeng ZHENG
Liubiao CHEN
Jingjie ZHANG
Junjie WANG
Fig.1  Schematic of the proposed novel composite insulation system.
Fig.2  Heat transfer flowchart of the proposed novel composite insulation system.
Fig.3  Heat flux through HGMs with one VCS.
Fig.4  Position optimization in HGMs with one VCS.
Fig.5  Optimized insulation performance of HGMs with different VCSs.
Fig.6  Insulation performance of HGMs with different thickness.
Fig.7  Temperature profile through HGMs under different conditions.
Fig.8  Insulation performance at different hot boundary temperatures.
Fig.9  Thermal properties of LH2 at different pressures.
Fig.10  Insulation performance at different LH2 pressures.
Fig.11  Insulation performance of the LH2 tank at different volumes.
Fig.12  Insulation performance of HGMs at different vacuum degrees.
HGMs Heat flux into tank/(W?m2)
0.001 Pa 0.01 Pa 0.1 Pa 1 Pa 10 Pa 100 Pa
Without VCS 0.896 0.897 0.973 1.078 2.384 6.796
1 VCS 0.376 0.376 0.408 0.452 1.000 2.849
2 VCSs 0.308 0.308 0.334 0.370 0.818 2.333
3 VCSs 0.285 0.285 0.309 0.343 0.758 2.160
Tab.1  Heat flux into LH2 tank at different vacuum degrees
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