Railway Tank Car for Transcontinental Shipment of Liquefied Hydrogen
Recently, expanding requirements of the missile and space program made it necessary to ship liquid hydrogen from Florida to California, Economic analyses favored rail shipment. Existing cryogenic tank cars, however, were too small and had a relatively high heat leak. Therefore, a design and development program was undertaken to produce a liquid-hydrogen railroad tank car having the largest-capacity tank that could be shipped safely, with an evaporation loss rate not exceeding 0.3% per day. Special and unique design features were necessary because of the extremely low boiling point of liquid hydrogen, the low heat of vaporization of the liquid with respect to volume, and the high flammability of hydrogen. At the same time, the tank car had to be suitable for normal railroad operation. The first coast-to-coast shipment was made in the new “jumbo” tank car on July 5, 1961. Six of these cars have been placed in operation. Their success has proven the feasibility of bulk rail shipment of liquid hydrogen.
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