Hydrogen infrastructure at a glance
Hydrogen storage is a key enabling technology for the development & improvement of H2 and fuel cell technologies in applications including stationary power generation, transportation, portable power supply, and also for non-energetic use.
Compressed gaseous hydrogen (CGH2) and liquefied hydrogen (LH2) are the established and dominant technologies, but chemical storage (e.g., LOHC-Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers) could offer higher storage performance due to the high storage densities and compatibility with existing fuel transport infrastructure (though the regeneration of storage material can be problematic). Figure 1 shows some of the hydrogen storage methods.
H2 is moved from production site to final application by trucks/trailers, pipelines, and vessels (ships). Delivered hydrogen gas is often transported in cylinders, tubes, pipes, and liquid tanks.
Trucks hauls GCH2 in tube trailers in pressures of 180 bar or higher (up to 500+ bar). Steel tube trailers are most commonly employed and carry around 380 kg onboard (one truck).
H2 has been transported by pipeline since 1938 (between the Rhine and Ruhr areas of Germany). Today, there are only about 5000 km of H2 transmission pipelines around the world, mainly in the U.S., Belgium, Germany, and France, compared with +3 million km for NG pipelines [Parliament, 2021]. Not surprisingly, about 75% of the proposed European hydrogen grid is expected to rely on existing gas transmission infrastructure [Goldman Sachs, 2020].
Vessels were developed to provide a means of transporting LH2 at 1/800 of its original gas-state volume, cooled to –253.8 °C. LH2 is stored in super insulated cryogenic tanks, which sizes can range from 1.5 m3 (100 kg) to 75.0 m3 (5,000 kg).
Compressed H2 can be stored onboard in tanks based on type IV carbon-composite tech, an all-composite construction featuring a polymer, liner (typically a high-density polyethylene) with carbon fiber or hybrid carbon/glass fiber composite. Pressures used are usually either 350 or 700 bar (5,000 or 10,000 psi). Capacities vary between manufacturers, but 5 kg is typical [Fuel Cell Cars, 2022].
Figure 1: Hydrogen storage methods