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How do you Store Hydrogen

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  • 21-09-2020
How do you Store Hydrogen

Essential hydrogen storage methods, which have been tried and tested over long periods, include the physical storage methods based on either cooling or compression or a combination of the two, this is called hybrid storage.

How do you Store Hydrogen

Hydrogen storage technologies

Also, a vast number of other new hydrogen storage technologies are being investigated or pursued. These technologies can also be grouped under the same materials-based storage technologies. These can include liquids, solids or surfaces.

As well as being able to store gaseous hydrogen under pressure, and it is possible to keep cryo­genic hydrogen in its liquid state. LH2 (Liquid hydrogen) is in demand today in applications that require high levels of purity, for example, in the chip industry.

In addition to separate cooling or compression, it is possible to combine these two methods. The cooled hydrogen is then compressed; this will then further develop the storage of hydrogen for the purpose of mobility.

The first of the field installations are now in operation. The advantage of cryogenic or cold compression is a much higher energy density as opposed to compressed hydrogen. However, cooling does require additional energy input.

High-density, high-pressure hydrogen storage is quite a challenge for portable and stationary applications and does remain a considerable challenge for transportation applications.

Current research shows, available storage options usually require large-volume systems that will store hydrogen in its gaseous form. This storage option is less of an issue for stationary applications; this is because the footprint of compressed gas tanks is less critical.

Use of Hydrogen

At present, the most current and essential use of hydrogen is the desulphurisation of hydrocarbons for the production of sulfur-free fuels. Crude oil from sources of fossil energies naturally contains sulfur. Hydrogen is also used daily as a liquid and gas by many different industries.

These industries include the manufacturing processes for producing foods, electronics and chemicals and also the petroleum industry. Towngas was a fuel cell used readily in the early part of the 20th century and was 50% hydrogen. Hydrogen is also used as a fuel for the NASA space shuttle.

Hydrogen Battery Systems

Batteries are not suitable for storing large amounts of electricity over long periods of time. A significant advantage of hydrogen is that it can be produced from excess renewable energies. Unlike electricity, it can be stored in large amounts for extended lengths of time.

Liquefied Hydrogen

The Liquefaction of hydrogen requires the temperature cooling to that of -253 °C and subsequently storing in cryogenic containers. Liquefaction is an energy-intensive process which can consume up to 35% of the energy in the stored hydrogen.

The great advantage of having liquefied hydrogen is its high density compared to that of compressed gas; this process means that more energy is contained in any given volume.

It is exceptionally beneficial for the transportation of the hydrogen. Of course, the liquefaction of hydrogen is only appropriate when it is produced in large quantities and needs to be transported over long distances or in bulk.

Since the majority of hydrogen vehicles have a compressed gas container on board, the liquid hydrogen needs to be converted to compressed gas before the vehicle can be refuelled. The process requires a complex infrastructure; it involves the controlled vaporisation of the liquid hydrogen and compression into the compressed gas storage facility.

Cold and Cryo-compressed Hydrogen

The storage of Cryo-compressed hydrogen refers to the storage of hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures in a vessel that is pressurised, to 250-350 atm, this is different to the current cryogenic vessels that will store liquid hydrogen at near-ambient pressures.

Materials-based H2 Storage

The materials-based hydrogen storage media is divided into three capacity classes: The first is hydride storage systems, the second is liquid hydrogen carriers, and the third is surface storage systems, which will take up hydrogen by adsorption, for example, attachment to the surface.

Hydride Storage Systems

The SOLID-H hydrogen storage containers are filled with metal powders that will absorb and release hydrogen; these are called metal hydrides. It is the safest method known for storing highly flammable hydrogen gas. If the hydrogen system developed a leak, the SOLID-H would immediately release a small fraction of the hydrogen it stores.

Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers

The highly innovative method for the transportation of hydrogen is to use LOHC (liquid organic hydrogen carriers). LOHCs are fluids like oil or gasoline that can be transported easily using the existing infrastructure.

Surface Storage Systems (sorbents)

Hydrogen can be stored as a sorbate by attachment or adsorption on materials with high specific surface areas.

These sorption materials include microscopically small carbon nanotubes, microporous crystalline aluminosilicates (zeolites) or microporous organometallic framework compounds (metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).

Adsorption materials that are in powder form can achieve very high volumetric storage densities.

Underground Storage

With the industrial storage of hydrogen, exhausted oil and gas fields, salt caverns or aquifers can be utilised as underground stores.

Cavern storage facilities are the most suitable for the storage of hydrogen, although they are more expensive. For many years underground storage facilities have been used for oil products, crude oil and natural gas.

Storing products in this way enables the seasonal balance for the fluctuation of supply and demand or for preparing for a crisis.

Gas Grid

Another way and the possibility for storing excess renewable energy in the form of hydrogen is for it to be fed into the public natural gas network know as Hydrogen Enriched Natural Gas or HENG).


If you are looking for hydrogen production services in the UK contact our specialist team today for information and advice.