It is hard to imagine what could derail the development of the emerging hydrogen economy. Positive sentiment and momentum related to the use of hydrogen as a renewable energy vector are at an all-time high. Many industrial, energy and transport applications will pull for significantly more hydrogen to displace fossil fuels.
At present, compressed hydrogen gas is moved from centralised production facilities to the point of utilisation on trucks in high pressure cylinders. Regional liquid hydrogen storage and distribution networks will also emerge.
Unfortunately, this kind of hydrogen distribution is costly and inefficient. For example, a 40 tonne truck with steel cylinders for compressed hydrogen distribution at 200 bar will contain only 300kg of hydrogen: less than 1% of the total vehicle weight is the valuable hydrogen payload. Liquid hydrogen distribution is not much better. A 40 tonne liquid tanker will contain around 3.5 tonnes of hydrogen – less than 10% of the vehicle weight is the payload.
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