Hydrogen Fuel Transportation

Hydrogen Production – Centralized / Decentralized

  • Hydrogen is produced either in a centralized or decentralized manner, but transportation is key point. 
  • The cost of hydrogen generation is lower due to economies of scale but transmission and distribution costs are higher in the centralized production. 
  • The T & D costs are lower but production cost is higher in the decentralized production at the refueling station using electrolyzer or reformer. 

Transportation of Hydrogen

  • Natural gas pipeline
  • Compressed gas
  • Road through trucks
  • Liquified form
  • Transport through other molecules like methanol

The selection of transportation depends upon geography of country, volume of transportation, distance of transport and its application. 

  • The long distance and large volume of hydrogen can be transported through shipping route or pipelines whereas local distribution is done either pipeline or through road route via trucks. 
  • The pipelines have high capital expenditure but lower operational and maintenance cost whereas road transport have low capital expenditure but higher operational and maintenance cost. 
  • The transportation of hydrogen is done through pipelines for large distances ( < 1500 km ), for further higher distances, hydrogen carrying in the form of high energy density materials like liquid organic hydrogen carriers ( LOHC ) is preferred choice which involves extra cost for conversion of hydrogen to LOHC and reconversion. 
  • If the infrastructure of pipeline is not available, liquid hydrogen is transported and carried through super insulated, cryogenic tankers and trucks.

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Liquid or Gaseous Hydrogen

  • The transportation of hydrogen in the form of liquid or gaseous hydrogen is chosen when volumes and distances is lower as compared to pipelines.
  • Liquid hydrogen is carried through trucks which saves transportation cost considerable. 
  • Gaseous hydrogen can be transported through high pressure tank through tube trailers. 
  • The density of hydrogen at 200 bar pressure is 15.6 kg/m3 and 500 bar pressure is 33 kg/m3
  • Pressurized tube trailers operate between pressure of 200 – 500 bar to carry compressed hydrogen over short distances. 
  • The capacity of tube trailer may be in the range of 500 – 1000 kg.

Liquid Organic Carriers

  • Hydrogen may be transport at ambient temperature and pressure is in the form of liquid organic carriers. 
  • Hydrogen can be carried in the form of hydrocarbon carrier which are high energy density materials having low flammability and toxicity.
  • Liquid organic carriers can be converted to hydrogen at the point of use.
  • The small refuel stations can refill 10 -2 -vehicles and having capacity of 50 – 100 kg per day. 
  • Hydrogen CNG is more efficient than CNG in terms of reducing emissions. 

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