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Hydrogen Storage, Transportation and Distribution

Our Services for the safe Storage, Transportation and Distribution of Hydrogen

What are the Biggest Challenges Facing Hydrogen Storage, Transportation and Distribution?

Hydrogen has a significant potential to decarbonize energy consumption. However, to achieve this potential, several obstacles around hydrogen storage, transportation and distribution must be overcome.

Hydrogen Storage

Perhaps the biggest challenge of developing hydrogen energy capabilities is that the gas has an extremely low volumetric density – at 3.2 times lower than natural gas, and 2,700 times lower than gasoline. Hydrogen must therefore be compressed or liquified to be cost-competitive with other forms of energy. However, achieving this presents a number of technical challenges and difficulties:

  • Hazards – compressed hydrogen can be explosive
  • Hydrogen liquifies at -253°C, making this an energy intensive form of storage
  • Regulations for hydrogen storage vary significantly around the world
  • Mixing hydrogen safely with natural gas in pipelines is a challenge
  • Damage – hydrogen can embrittle components and storage materials 
To become a truly competitive source of green energy, the cost of storing and transporting hydrogen must be reduced.

 

What Technologies are Being Used for Hydrogen Transport, Distribution and Storage Solutions?

Broadly speaking, there are three approaches to hydrogen distribution and storage that are currently being used. Different methods are more appropriate for different scenarios. For instance, hydrogen pipelines are by far the most cost-effective when transporting the gas over long distances, while trucks are often better for local delivery.

  • Hydrogen distribution with pipelines
    Hydrogen pipelines are made from metal or plastics and used to distribute hydrogen either via the existing natural gas infrastructure or by building new pipelines exclusively for hydrogen transport. 
    Building new hydrogen pipelines requires a major upfront investment yet is perhaps the most straightforward way of distributing the gas. On the other hand, using the existing natural gas infrastructure involves lower upfront costs, but requires careful monitoring to ensure there is the correct proportion of hydrogen in the gas mix. It also requires investment in additional technology to separate hydrogen from the natural gas on arrival at destination. 
  • Hydrogen transport using trucks with trailers (or barges and ships)
    This approach uses a large tank (similar to gasoline but with special equipment due to high pressure) or small-to-medium-sized units surrounded by a cage for additional safety. 
  • Hydrogen storage in tanks
    Special storage tanks are designed to hold liquefied or compressed hydrogen. These tanks must be durable as tank failure is potentially explosive.

Why Choose TÜV SÜD for Support with Hydrogen Transport, Distribution and Storage Solutions?

TÜV SÜD is recognized around the world as a provider of neutral and reliable advice to the hydrogen industry. Our hydrogen energy experts have extensive experience in assessing hydrogen transport, distribution and storage solutions. This means we can provide guidance and recommendations on the most appropriate methods for your organization. Ultimately, ensuring the safety and security of pipelines and storage solutions is a core value of TÜV SÜD. 

Hydrogen is a dynamic area of green energy research and we have participated in multiple lighthouse projects including:

  • Measuring technologies
    TÜV SÜD’s National Engineering Laboratory is involved in research projects to enable the exact measurement of hydrogen proportion when mixed with natural gas in pipelines. 
  • HYPOS-project
    This was a large research project covering the whole value chain of green hydrogen, from renewable energy generation to consumption in the chemical industry. TÜV SÜD played a major role in developing safety concepts for hydrogen pipelines as part of this project. 

Hydrogen Services for Manufacturers 

When stored or distributed incorrectly, compressed hydrogen is very hazardous. It is therefore essential for manufacturers to ensure that their storage and distribution methods are safe and secure. 

Our services for manufacturers include:

  • Certification of transport infrastructure and refuelling stations as a Notified Body (e.g. PED, TPED)
  • Approval for dangerous goods transports (ADR, RID, IMDG) 
  • Risk Assessment and moderation of HAZOPs
  • Assessment of material compatibility

Hydrogen Services for Operators 

Operators must ensure that hydrogen is managed according to the highest safety standards to protect members of the public, employees, vehicles, and buildings. 

Our services for operators include:

  • Inspection of transport infrastructure and refuelling stations as an Approved Inspection Agency
  • Risk Assessment and moderation of HAZOPs
  • Safety concept assessments
  • Assessment of material compatibility
  • Staff training for safe treatment of gaseous media like hydrogen

In addition to these offerings, we also provide customized services that are tailored to your specific hydrogen delivery requirements. To find out more about what we offer, or to partner with us for our hydrogen support services, contact us today.

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