storage and distribution

Hydrogen Storage Methods

Hydrogen Storage, Transportation and Distribution

Hydrogen Storage, Transportation and Distribution

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is strongly advocating for governments and companies to take action in decarbonizing our global economy. In their sixth assessment report, scientists unequivocally affirm that human activities are accelerating global warming with potentially devastating and irreversible consequences. To combat this, the use of renewable energies becomes crucial in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, it's important to recognize that not all regions have easy access to clean energy sources like solar, wind, and water. Furthermore, various industries rely on energy supplies with a high energy density, which can be stored in large quantities for on-demand use.


To bridge the gap between renewable energy sources and their practical applications, we must explore diversified energy carriers and hydrogen storage technologies. Hydrogen emerges as one of the most promising solutions in this context. Read on to discover various hydrogen storage methods, transportation, distribution, and more importantly how TÜV SÜD can assist your business with all its hydrogen needs.


hydrogen storage & distribution



Hydrogen storage METHODS and distribution – tanks, pipelines, and site infrastructure


Once hydrogen is produced and processed, there's a critical need for its safe distribution and storage. Because hydrogen can be stored in either its gaseous or liquid state, there are consequently several hydrogen storage methods. It's important to note that hydrogen's boiling point is an extremely low -252.9°C. This means that liquid hydrogen requires extremely low temperatures for safe storage or needs to be bonded organically, as seen in solutions like Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC). On the other hand, gaseous hydrogen, when stored at regular temperatures, necessitates high-pressure solutions for both storage and transport to achieve the same energy density as cryogenic hydrogen.


We can differentiate between larger systems designed for hydrogen storage and transportation and smaller on-site infrastructure.



A significant advantage of hydrogen lies in its ability to be stored over extended periods with minimal losses when in gaseous form. Moreover, a substantial portion of the existing natural gas infrastructure can be repurposed for hydrogen use. Nevertheless, hydrogen does have a lower volumetric energy density at atmospheric pressure compared to other energy carriers, such as natural gas or oil. This poses less of an issue in stationary applications, where large storage tanks with lower pressure are acceptable, as opposed to mobile applications where the size and weight of tanks become significant concerns.


One innovative possibility is the underground storage of hydrogen, typically in large caverns situated within salt domes that may reach depths of up to 1000 meters. These sites are often located in proximity to major hydrogen production facilities and electrolysers. Similar systems already exist for natural gas and can serve as models for hydrogen distribution.


As an alternative, hydrogen storage through the use of metal hydrides is feasible. In these systems, hydrogen molecules are chemically bonded within the structure of a metal compound, remaining stable and non-hazardous at atmospheric pressure within these low-pressure environments.

HYDRogen storage and transportation


Hydrogen distribution to the point of use can occur either through high-pressure containers or via pipelines. Hydrogen storage and distribution in high-pressure tanks encounters similar challenges as seen in the storage of high-pressure vessels. It can be facilitated using road, rail, or maritime transportation, which offers flexibility and the ability to reach various destinations without requiring extensive new infrastructure.


The transmission of hydrogen via pipelines becomes a viable solution when large quantities of hydrogen must be distributed. Gas pipelines are capable of transporting substantial amounts of energy at a lower cost compared to electricity transmission through overhead power lines. Existing gas pipeline infrastructure in countries like Germany can be adapted for hydrogen transportation with relatively few modifications.


In theory, a methane pipeline could be used to transport a similar amount of energy using hydrogen. However, this relies on the integrity of pipeline components, including fittings and pipes. There is a possibility that hydrogen may accelerate the formation of cracks, potentially shortening the pipeline's service life. Other factors like dynamic stress and pre-existing fractures also need to be taken into consideration.


An alternative approach to mitigate these risks involves mixing hydrogen with natural gas, thereby reducing the necessary modifications to the pipeline. However, if the hydrogen content exceeds 40%, components such as compressors and turbines may need to be replaced to handle the increased volume flow of hydrogen.

Site infrastructure and fueling systems


While the storage and distribution of hydrogen on-site is feasible, it necessitates a well-defined safety concept and rigorous testing before commissioning. The key challenges revolve around the use of high-pressure tanks and the design and operation of the filling station itself. Furthermore, companies must ensure the integrity of the components and provide appropriate training to employees for the safe handling of hydrogen.


hydrogen fuel system

Hydrogen refuelling station in Hamburg



hydrogen storage problems and opportunities


Companies commonly encounter challenges associated with the transmission and storage of hydrogen, particularly in terms of costs, safety, and the availability of skilled personnel. However, these challenges can be effectively addressed by partnering with the right organizations, gaining a competitive advantage, and managing risk. Today, investing in and developing infrastructure and partnerships for hydrogen projects can position companies to benefit from the increasing demand for clean energy and e-fuels.


Find the right solution for your project


In regions with established gas infrastructure, hydrogen distribution is likely to occur via pipelines. Exceptions may arise in industrial applications where substances like methanol and ammonia are required as feedstock. In such cases, producing derivatives directly at the point of low-carbon hydrogen production is advantageous, as it allows for the transport of higher energy densities. For instances where hydrogen must be stored to refill smaller tanks and vessels, distributing hydrogen via trucks and ships is a feasible approach.


While gaseous hydrogen has been the most promising solution for many scenarios, there is ongoing discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of liquid hydrogen. For companies, navigating the current state of the hydrogen market and understanding the best hydrogen storage solutions can be a complex task, especially given that hydrogen storage technologies require specialized expertise to ensure safety.


At TÜV SÜD, we offer unique assistance in identifying the appropriate transmission and storage setup for your hydrogen strategy and ensuring its safety. With a team of over 500 hydrogen experts, we can globally test, inspect, and certify components and projects. Moreover, our training modules prepare your workforce to skillfully implement your new strategy.


In collaboration with our hydrogen research subsidiary, LBST, we provide up-to-date and comprehensive insights into available hydrogen storage technologies and new opportunities. Additionally, our consultancy subsidiary, evety, offers state-of-the-art expertise to support your project throughout its entire lifecycle.


Building ecosystems – connecting hydrogen production with target applications 


A significant challenge on the path to a hydrogen-based future is creating an ecosystem that facilitates connections between low-carbon hydrogen producers and end-users. Moreover, the transition to hydrogen requires the adoption of new technical equipment, necessitating new equipment qualification procedures and standards.


TÜV SÜD, in partnership with our subsidiaries evety and LBST, facilitates connections between partners involved in hydrogen production, transmission, and storage, as well as buyers. Through our involvement in international hydrogen committees, we stay abreast of the latest regulations, codes, and standards (RCS) and can perform testing and certification of your hydrogen equipment accordingly.


AT TÜV SÜD, we offer services covering all chain links in the hydrogen value chain

hydrogen value chain

Explore the hydrogen value chain

Explore the hydrogen value chain from production over transmission to applications. Find the right solutions and ensure safety for your projects with TÜV SÜD.

Learn More

Hydrogen station

Hydrogen Production

Learn how TÜV SÜD supports renewable energies, hydrogen production - electrolyser, pyrolysis and (SMR) projects - and how we ensure safety and efficiency.]

Learn More

hydrogen applications

Hydrogen in Applications

Learn how TÜV SÜD supports hydrogen application development for mobility, industry, and infrastructure applications and ensures safety and efficiency.

Learn More

Next Steps

Site Selector