Energy and Power


Hydrogen Storage: Enabling the Era of Sustainable Energy

Author : Priyanka | December 26, 2023

Hydrogen is readily available in the atmosphere, and there is a wealth of studies regarding its innovative utilization in generating electricity, powering vehicles, and reducing carbon emissions. However, have you ever questioned the feasibility of this? Well, it all comes down to hydrogen storage. It enables the responsible utilization of hydrogen in a wide range of domains. This blog will guide you through detailed information on storing hydrogen and novel advancements and research in this field.

What is Hydrogen Storage?

Hydrogen storage refers to the various methods and technologies used to store hydrogen for different applications, including stationary, portable, and transportation uses. The storage of hydrogen is a critical aspect of utilizing hydrogen as an energy carrier due to its low volumetric energy density compared to other gasses, such as natural gas, and its unique properties that require specific storage conditions.

It can be used for energy generation and stored in fuel cells to power electric vehicles. It plays a potential role in the chemical sector by serving as a versatile feedstock for the production of various chemicals and materials and contributing to a wide range of industrial processes and applications. As per the recent report published by Kings Research, the global hydrogen storage market is expected to attain $6.74 billion in revenue by 2030.

Exploring the Common Hydrogen Storage Methods

Below are some methods and approaches for storing hydrogen.

  • Compressed Hydrogen

This method involves storing hydrogen gas under high pressure to increase the storage density. It is commonly used in hydrogen storage tank systems for vehicles, with pressures typically at 350 bar (5,000 psi) and 700 bar (10,000 psi) using type IV carbon-composite technology.

  • Liquefied Hydrogen

Hydrogen can be liquefied by reducing its temperature to very low levels, similar to liquefied natural gas (LNG). This method allows for higher energy density storage but requires significant energy for cooling and maintaining the low temperatures.

  • Chemical Storage

This method involves using chemical reactions to store hydrogen effectively in both solid materials and liquid compounds, such as water or alcohol. This approach is also known as chemical hydrogen storage.

  • Combined Cold-and-Cryo-Compressed Hydrogen

This method combines compression and cryogenic cooling to achieve higher energy density storage. The hydrogen is cooled before being compressed, resulting in a higher energy density compared to compressed hydrogen alone.

  • Materials-Based Storage

Hydrogen can be stored using various materials, including adsorption, absorption, and hydride storage. Adsorption involves hydrogen molecules attaching to the surface of a material, while absorption dissociates hydrogen into atoms. Metal-hydride hydrogen storage systems form hydrogen compounds with elemental metals, allowing for large volumes of gas absorption.

Why is Hydrogen Storage Important?

Efficient storage of hydrogen is crucial for hydrogen energy storage, clean energy solutions, transportation, and promoting the hydrogen economy. The increasing demand for hydrogen leads to the development of advanced storage methods with higher energy density, enabling the widespread adoption of hydrogen as an energy carrier.

The storage of hydrogen helps store large amounts of clean energy, supporting the global goal of Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE Scenario) to attain complete zero emissions by 2050.

Efficient and safe storage of hydrogen is crucial for promoting the hydrogen economy, as it enables the use of hydrogen as a fuel of choice in mobile transportation and various energy applications. This includes meeting specific requirements set by organizations such as the United States Department of Energy (DOE) regarding the reversible storage of hydrogen.

Is Hydrogen Storage Safe?

Hydrogen is non-toxic and has quick dissipation into the atmosphere; hence, it is safe to store hydrogen. However, hydrogen gas has flammable concentrations hence careful material selection is very crucial. Staff training in handling hydrogen is essential, and systems should be periodically tested for leaks.

Despite these challenges, hydrogen's potential for future use is promising, such as in hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles.

Research and Developments in Hydrogen Storage Approaches

Hydrogen can be stored for various applications. Below are some of the major research and developments that are focused on the efficient storage of hydrogen.

1. Understanding the Reaction of Hydrogen with Storage Materials

Research bodies, such as the Hydrogen Materials Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC), focus on understanding the interaction of hydrogen with materials about the formation and release of hydrogen from storage materials. In this way, HyMARC aligns with the DOE's Energy Earthshots Initiative, aiming to deliver cost-effective, clean hydrogen in support of the nation's climate and environmental objectives.

2. Strategic Pathways For Hydrogen Storage

Hydrogen has a higher energy content than gasoline, but its density is lower. To meet the driving range of light-duty vehicle platforms, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) is pursuing strategic pathways for storing hydrogen. Near-term solutions include compressed gas storage using fiber-reinforced composites, while long-term solutions include cold or cryo-compressed hydrogen storage and materials-based technologies. These approaches aim to reduce system costs and meet DOE targets of storing hydrogen.

3. Development of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Storage Systems

In the context of transportation, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) is developing cost-effective, safe, and high-performance onboard automotive hydrogen fuel cell storage systems that have more than 300 miles of driving range. This is particularly important for the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and other hydrogen-powered transportation solutions.

Bottom Line

Hydrogen storage stands at the forefront of a transformative energy landscape, offering a viable solution for clean and sustainable power generation. As advancements in hydrogen storage technologies continue, the potential for widespread adoption across diverse sectors becomes increasingly tangible.

From powering vehicles with zero-emission fuel cells to providing reliable energy storage for a renewable future, the storage of hydrogen holds the promise of revolutionizing the way we harness and utilize energy. Adopting this innovative storage solution not only paves the way for a greener, more efficient world but also signifies a pivotal step towards achieving global energy sustainability and reducing carbon footprints.

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