Hydrogen storage for a net-zero carbon future

If a hydrogen economy is to become a reality, along with efficient and decarbonized production and
adequate transportation infrastructure, deployment of suitable hydrogen storage facilities will be crucial.
This is because, due to various technical and economic reasons, there is a serious possibility of an
imbalance between hydrogen supply and demand. Hydrogen storage could also be pivotal in promoting
renewable energy sources and facilitating the decarbonization process by providing long duration
storage options, which other forms of energy storage, such as batteries with capacity limitations or
pumped hydro with geographical limitations, cannot meet. However, hydrogen is not the easiest
substance to store and handle. Under ambient conditions, the extremely low volumetric energy density
of hydrogen does not allow for its efficient and economic storage, which means it needs to be
compressed, liquefied, or converted into other substances that are easier to handle and store. Currently,
there are different hydrogen storage solutions at varying levels of technology, market, and commercial
readiness, with different applications depending on the circumstances. This paper evaluates the relative
merits and techno-economic features of major types of hydrogen storage options: (i) pure hydrogen
storage, (ii) synthetic hydrocarbons, (iii) chemical hydrides, (iv) liquid organic hydrogen carriers, (v)
metal hydrides, and (vi) porous materials. The paper also discusses the main barriers to investment in
hydrogen storage and highlights key features of a viable business model, in particular the policy and
regulatory framework needed to address the primary risks to which potential hydrogen storage investors
are exposed.

By: Rahmat Poudineh , Aliaksei Patonia