GTL’s ultralightweight BHL™ dewar provides dramatically reduced mass, and increased performance over metal dewars. In cryogenic propellant storage systems, BHL has a demonstrated mass reduction of 75%. A similar mass reduction is expected for dewar applications. BHL allows thinner carbon fiber plies to be used, reducing mass and thermal mass while also increasing thermal resistance. Varying materials can be used throughout the structure to optimize for liquid helium storage.
The GTL team is extensively experienced in cryogenic isolation, dewar production, composites manufacturing, and cryogenic fluid testing. GTL is currently producing 4 ft diameter cryogenic structures and has existing designs for integrated dewar systems. This phase I and II effort will conclude at a high TRL, ready for phase III application, due to the experience and capability of GTL.
The BHL technology applied to dewar systems offers significant improvements over current state-of-the-art dewars. BHL will provide for reduced boil-off, reduced cost, and easier transport of the dewars. BHL dewars could be applied to a large number of NASA systems. Anywhere cryogenic fluid is stored could potentially be replaced with these low mass, high efficiency composite dewars. NASA space systems, lunar and Mars landers, lunar and Mars habitats, as well as long term storage could benefit greatly from low mass BHL dewars and/or cryotanks.
For the same reasons that these composite dewars would be so beneficial to NASA, they would also be beneficial to the DoD. These low mass dewars could enable aircraft to run off of other fuels, such as liquid natural gas and liquid hydrogen. In the private sector BHL cryogenic dewars could be implemented in hospitals, research corporations, and cold gas/welding suppliers.