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The importance of large-scale storage in the green hydrogen industry.

22/03/2023

In the pursuit of a sustainable energy future, hydrogen has emerged as a promising solution for decarbonization [1]. While discussions often revolve around production methods and applications as well as demand and offtake, the critical aspect of large-scale storage is sometimes overlooked.

Introduction

In the pursuit of a sustainable energy future, hydrogen has emerged as a promising solution for decarbonization [1]. While discussions often revolve around production methods and applications as well as demand and offtake, the critical aspect of large-scale storage is sometimes overlooked. However, recent advancements are addressing the challenges and filling the gaps in this crucial area. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of large-scale storage in the hydrogen industry, examine the challenges faced, and highlight recent advancements that are revolutionizing this vital area.

 

The Crucial Role of Large-Scale Storage

Large-scale storage plays a pivotal role in the hydrogen industry by ensuring a reliable and stable supply of this clean fuel source [2]. As renewable energy sources are intermittent, large-scale storage allows for the capture and storage of excess energy during periods of high production [3]. This stored energy can then be utilized during times of low production or increased demand, enabling a smooth and consistent supply of hydrogen [4]. Moreover, large-scale storage infrastructure is essential for the widespread adoption of hydrogen across sectors such as transportation, industry, and power generation [5].

 

Repurposing Depleted Gas Fields and Salt Caverns for Hydrogen Storage: Unlocking Potential

One exciting approach to large-scale storage is the repurposing of depleted natural gas reservoirs [6]. These existing underground structures offer ready-made storage capacity and infrastructure, reducing costs and expediting the deployment of hydrogen storage solutions [7]. However, it is important to conduct a thorough assessment of the geology to ensure non-reactivity, impermeability, and structural stability for effective storage. The inert and non-reactive nature of salt rocks with hydrogen makes salt caverns an attractive option for storing hydrogen. Nonetheless, impermeability assessments and post-treatment efforts are also needed to maintain the purity of the stored hydrogen and address potential concerns such as water content and bacterial interactions.

 

Hydrogen Pipelines: Buffering Storage and Transportation

Hydrogen pipelines, especially those already intended for long-distance transportation, can act as a buffer and provide significant storage capacity (when scaled in tens of kilometers). Proper planning and facility design can leverage the intermittent nature of hydrogen transport to eliminate the need for static storage. This approach optimizes the use of existing pipeline infrastructure, providing flexibility in the storage and distribution of hydrogen.

 

Pressure or Cryogenic Vessels: Pressurized and Liquefied Hydrogen Storage

Pressure or cryogenic vessels, utilizing metal, composite or a combination of both materials, can be considered for the storage of pressurized or liquefied hydrogen. Some of the largest liquefied hydrogen storage infrastructure currently exist for aerospace industry fueling applications. These vessels offer the advantage of high storage density and can play a significant role in storing hydrogen for various applications.


Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs) and Ammonia are two promising options for large-scale hydrogen storage by chemical binding, each with its own advantages and challenges.

Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs) are emerging as a promising solution for large-scale hydrogen storage and transportation [8] .LOHCs enable reversible storage of hydrogen by chemically binding it to carrier liquids, enhancing safety and facilitating long-distance transportation .As an example of this applied technique in the region , is the UAE-Germany agreement between ADNOC and Hydrogenous LOHC to transport hydrogen to Germany from the UAE .This inclusive approach ensures the flexibility and adaptability of hydrogen storage, allowing for integration into existing infrastructure and transportation networks[8].LOHCs provide a practical solution that addresses safety concerns and enables efficient hydrogen distribution across diverse regions [9].The reversible nature of LOHCs allows for the release of hydrogen on-demand, enabling a flexible and responsive supply system that benefits both urban and rural areas [10].

 

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