storage and distribution

Hydrogen enables the connection of clean energy and applications

Understand hydrogen transmission and storage technology and learn how to implement safety and efficiency

Understand hydrogen transmission and storage technology and learn how to implement safety and efficiency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urges governments and companies to implement measures to decarbonise our global economy. In the sixth assessment report, scientists clearly state that human activities accelerate global warming and that the effects will be devastating and irreversible. Renewable energies will be a key to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, not all regions have access to sufficient clean energy sources like solar, wind and water. In addition, several industries rely on energy supplies with a high energy density that can be stored in large quantities at the point of use.


We need diversified energy carriers and storage technologies to bridge the gap between renewable energy sources and applications. Hydrogen is one of the most promising solutions in this context.


hydrogen storage & distribution



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


Once hydrogen is produced and processed, it needs to be distributed and stored safely. Hydrogen can be stored physically in gaseous or liquid form. The boiling point of hydrogen is at -252.9 °C. Due to its cryogenic boiling point, liquid hydrogen requires ultra-low cooling to be stored safely or needs to be organically bounded (e.g. Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier – LOHC). On the other hand, gaseous hydrogen stored at normal temperatures requires high-pressure solutions for storage and transport to reach the same energy density as cryogenic hydrogen.


We can distinguish between large systems for storage and distribution as well as smaller onsite infrastructure.


Large storage systems for hydrogen


A significant advantage of hydrogen is that it can be stored without losses for long periods as gas. In addition, a lot of the existing natural gas infrastructure can be used. However, hydrogen has a low volumetric energy density at atmospheric pressure compared to other energy carriers like natural gas or oil. That is less of a problem in stationary applications, where large storage tanks with low pressure are acceptable compared to mobile applications where the size and weight of tanks are a significant concern.


Underground storage of hydrogen, for example, is a possibility in large caverns built into salt domes up to 1000 meters deep, close to larger hydrogen production sites and electrolysers. Similar systems already exist for natural gas and could serve as a blueprint for hydrogen.


As an alternative, storing hydrogen using metal hydrides is possible. The hydrogen molecules are chemically bonded within the metal compound structure and remain stable and non-hazardous at atmospheric pressure in these low-pressure systems.


Transmission and distribution of hydrogen


Gaseous hydrogen can be distributed to the point of use either in high-pressure containers or via pipeline.The transport in high-pressure tanks faces similar challenges as the storage in high-pressure vessels and can be facilitated using road, rail, or maritime transportation. This makes this solution flexible and suited to reach any destination without the need for new infrastructure.


Transmission of hydrogen via pipelines is a good solution if large quantities of hydrogen need to be distributed. Gas pipelines can transport high amounts of energy at a lower cost than electricity transmission on overhead power lines. The existing gas pipeline infrastructure in countries like Germany can be used to transport hydrogen with few adaptions.


Theoretically, a methane pipeline could transport nearly the same amount of energy using hydrogen. However, this depends on the integrity of the pipeline components like fittings and pipes. It is possible that hydrogen embrittlement accelerates the formation of cracks and thus shortens the pipeline's service life significantly. Other factors like dynamic stress and existing fractures need to be considered as well.


It is also possible to mix hydrogen with natural gas to mitigate these risks and decrease the required adaptions to the pipeline. However, if the share of hydrogen exceeds 40%, parts like compressors and turbines likely need to be exchanged to cope with the higher volume flow of hydrogen.


Site infrastructure and fueling systems


Storage and distribution of hydrogen onsite are feasible but require a safety concept and testing before commissioning. Challenges are mainly related to the high-pressure tanks as well as the filling station itself. In addition, companies need to ensure the integrity of components as well as the training of employees for the safe handling of hydrogen. 


hydrogen fuel system

Hydrogen refuelling station in Hamburg



Challenges and opportunities for transmission and storage of hydrogen


The most common challenges companies face with the transmission and storage of hydrogen concern the costs, safety, and availability of skilled personnel. However, these challenges can be tackled with the right partners to gain an edge over competitors and mitigate risk. Today, investing in and building infrastructure and partnerships for hydrogen projects will position companies to profit from the rising demand for clean energy and e-fuels.


Find the right solution for your project


In countries with existing gas infrastructure, hydrogen will likely be distributed via pipelines. Exceptions are industrial applications in which methanol and ammonia are required as feedstock. Here, the production of the derivates directly at the point of production of low-carbon hydrogen makes sense as higher energy densities can be transported. It is feasible to distribute hydrogen via trucks and ships for infrastructure where hydrogen must be stored to fill up smaller tanks and vessels.


While gaseous hydrogen has been the most promising solution for most of these scenarios, there are new discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of liquid hydrogen. For companies, it is not easy to navigate the current state of the hydrogen market and to understand the best storage solutions available. Especially since hydrogen technologies require expert skills to ensure they are safe.


At TÜV SÜD, we can offer unique assistance to find the suitable transmission and storage setup for your hydrogen strategy and help you to make it safe. With our more than 500 hydrogen experts, we can test, inspect, and certify components and projects globally. Furthermore, with training modules for safe hydrogen and equipment handling, we ensure your workforce is skilled to implement your new strategy.


Together with our hydrogen research subsidiary LBST, we deliver current and comprehensive insights into available technology and new opportunities. Furthermore, with our consultancy subsidiary evety, we can support your project throughout the whole lifecycle with state-of-the-art expertise.


Building ecosystems – connecting hydrogen production with target-applications 


A major challenge on our way to a hydrogen future is building an ecosystem that connects producers of low-carbon hydrogen with users and customers. In addition, the transition to hydrogen requires new technical equipment and thus new equipment qualification procedures and standards.


At TÜV SÜD, together with our subsidiaries evety and LBST, we enable matchmaking between partners out of hydrogen production, transmission, and storage, as well as buyers.

Through our memberships in international hydrogen committees, we are also aware of the newest regulations, codes, and standards (RCS) and can test and certify 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.

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hydrogen applications

Hydrogen in Applications

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

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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.]

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