Delta H: enhancing lab on hydrogen value chain -

Delta H: enhancing lab on hydrogen value chain

19 Feb 2020

Testing of materials and components for the storage and conveyance of Hydrogen at high pressure

The Delta H Laboratory mission is the testing of materials and vessels for hydrogen storage up to 1000 bar (14500 psi). As one of the few hydrogen laboratories in the world able to conduct tests to such pressures, it aims to carry out R&D activities for testing, qualification and characterization of special materials and equipment for storage and transport of hydrogen.


The development of experimental tests campaigns is of great interest, especially for new materials and components: such knowledge will allow engineering new solutions for storing energy, addressed to industries that in the upcoming years will be more and more involved in the storage (on vehicle or stationary) and transport (by trailers or pipeline) of hydrogen. Above all, the automotive sector is one of more promising for the development of hydrogen mobility and related storage and refueling systems.

Laboratory main features

  • supply of ultrapure Hydrogen from cylinders or directly from internal production by hydrolyser
  • possibility of study of gas mixture (e.g. H2 + CH4) and/or with pollutants ( e.g. H2O, O2, N2)
  • full equipment with gas sensors and other systems to operate in safe condition and to evacuate and inserting quickly all pressure systems and piping in case of gas leakage
  • full automation with the possibility to control each test phase remotely.

Possible approaches to material testing and characterization

  • Slow Strain Rate Test (Ratio ElH/El, RaH/Ra)
  • notched tensile specimens test (σs , Kt)
  • evaluation of threshold stress-intensity factor (KTH)
  • evaluation of the effect of H for crack initiation by fatigue approach (KTHI)
  • evaluation of the effect of H for crack propagation by fatigue approach (da/dn versus ΔK)
  • potential drop crack growth measurement.


The Delta H laboratory was created in 2016 by Centro Sviluppo Materiali, as part of RINA, together with the University of Calabria. CSM’s expertise in the field of high pressure makes RINA one of the companies in the hydrogen value chain economy carbon free through the development of advanced solutions for the storage of energy produced from renewable sources.

We are able to develop methodologies for the testing of hydrogen-compatible materials for the construction of containers for energy storage (mobility, residential, naval) of new conception. We can also validate components through full scale tests, with hydrogen pressurization up to 1000 bar, and define the most suitable methods of investigation to monitor the life cycle of products and components.

The improvement of the storage capacity by nano-porous materials can be also determined. Ultrapure H2, or H2 with contaminants, or mixtures of H2 with other gases, including methane, can be used.

Different types of materials (activated carbon, zeolites, polymer, MOF, metal hydrides) can increase the storage capacity of a tank. In this unit, these nanomaterials with ultrahigh porosity, are inserted into a cylinder to improve its storage capacity at pressure up to 300 bar. The measurement of additional storage capacity is achieved by means of a mass flow controller in combination with input/output flow thermodynamic as well as porous material characteristics.