OIES Podcast – Global trade of hydrogen: what is the best way to transfer hydrogen over long distances?
In this podcast David Ledesma talks with Rahmat Poudineh, Senior Research Fellow, and Aliaksei Patonia, Research Fellow on issues and options with respect to long distance transportation of the hydrogen.
Hydrogen currently is mainly a local or regional commodity. If hydrogen is to become a truly global-traded commodity, it needs to be transported over long transoceanic distances in an economical way. However, unlike natural gas, shipping compressed or liquefied hydrogen over long distances is very inefficient and expensive. At the same time, hydrogen can be converted into multiple carriers with a higher energy density and higher transport capacity such as liquid ammonia, toluene/methylcyclohexane (MCH) or methanol. These chemicals have their own advantages and drawbacks and their techno-economic characteristics in terms of boil-off gas and thermodynamic and conversion losses play a key role in the efficiency of transoceanic transportation of the hydrogen.
On the other hand, apart from techno-economic features, there are other factors to consider for long distance transportation of the hydrogen via its careers. Here, such issues as safety, public acceptance as well as legal and regulatory constraints may come into play. Another factor is the availability of the industries and infrastructures already developed around any of possible hydrogen carriers as well as their potential industrial applicability beyond hydrogen. Finally, technological progress in other decarbonization applications and, most importantly, full commercialization of CCUS solutions is likely to dramatically change the approach towards long distance hydrogen transportation.