(From left:CEO of LATTICE Technology Kun-Oh Park, research fellow Hwa-Ryong Yu, and Professor Chang )
A KAIST-developed Lattice Pressure Vessel (LPV) will launch inside a 150-ton class port cleaning ship that the Ulsan Port Authority will deploy in December. The ship will operate off the coast of Ulsan and will be the first LNG-fueled public service vessel run by the government.
LATTICE Technology, a tech-startup established in 2012 by two KAIST professors, announced last week that the company signed a contract with the Ulsan Port Authority to install the LPV into the hull of the port cleaning ship.
The company setup by Professors Daejun Chang and Pål G. Bergan in the Department of Mechanical Engineering accomplished the feat seven years after they first registered their original technology patent.
The free-shaped pressure vessel developed by the two professors is applicable to any type of ship structure, a technological breakthrough addressing the wasted installing space of the conventional pressure vessel types that either spherical or cylindrical designs would result in.
The LPV has an internal lattice structure for load carrying caused by pressure, providing 50 percent more capacity than that of a cylindrical pressure vessel.
According to Professor Chang, the essence of the LPV is an internal, modular structure that carries the load by balancing the pressure on opposite walls. He said that the LPV has a number of merits thanks to the lattice structure. While its structural redundancy improves safety, it is fully scalable in any direction as well as being able to mitigate the sloshing load, resulting in a negligible level of fatigue risk. Its modularity also cuts the production cost. The technology has already earned seven internationally authorized certificates, and the company has already built four prototype tanks.
The LPV has significant market potential in the energy storage industry, especially transportation sectors. One imminent application is LNG fuel storage on ships. This cryogenic fuel is expected to replace the conventional marine fuel or heavy fuel oil that is the source of a number of polluting emissions (SOx, NOx, CO2, and particle matters).
This LPV technology will contribute to the efficient storage LNG in volume. As liquid hydrogen increasingly emerges to decarbonate the energy mix, the storage and transportation of liquid hydrogen will be also a critical issue. The researchers expect that this LPV technology will be further applied into the entire supply chain of various fields including production, transportation, storage, and utilization of such decarbonated energy sources.
Professor Chang said, “Pressure vessels are one of the most common devices for storing materials and energy. The areas for which the LPV can create value will expand into various industrial sectors.”
The research team plans to conduct further research and development to realize various LPV applications to store LNG, LPG, liquid hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and steam for ships, land facilities, vehicles, trains, and automobiles.
Figure 2: Lattice pressure vessels in shapes and sizes. Unlike conventional cylinders, the lattice pressure vessel can freely assume different shapes and be scaled up through the repetition of modular internal units.
Figure 3: A cylinder tank of 24 m3 and a lattice pressure vessel of 22 m3. They are similar in volume but show a big difference in installation space.