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New Technology Facilitates Hydrogen Storage

Credit: MAN Cryo
Credit: MAN Cryo

By MarEx 2018-12-05 18:01:18

MAN Cryo, shipowner Fjord1 and designer Multi Maritime in Norway have developed a marine fuel-gas system for liquefied hydrogen.

The system is designed for vessels, such as ferries, employed on relatively short routes and has been granted preliminary approval in principle by DNV GL. It is the first marine-system design globally to secure such an approval. The system has a scalable design and is suited for both above- and below-deck applications.

Liquefied hydrogen has a temperature of -253° Celsius and is one of the coldest cryogenic gases there is, which places system components and materials under extreme stresses. Another design challenge was hydrogen’s explosive nature.

Once liquefied, hydrogen is reduced to 1/800th of its volume, compared to that of its gas phase, facilitating a more-efficient distribution. As a fuel, hydrogen does not release any CO2, and liquefied hydrogen can be used to charge batteries for electrical propulsion via fuel cell technology. 

Some 55 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of hydrogen is currently made every year for industrial feedstock, mostly for oil refining and making chemicals. In contrast, only 0.002 percent of hydrogen production, about 1,000 tons annually, is produced for use as an energy source. Most, if not all, of this currently powers hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles. 

A newly-released research paper by DNV GL Hydrogen as an energy carrier predicts significant long-term rises in these numbers, with low-carbon hydrogen becoming an effective decarbonization agent to mitigate climate change. For example, the company’s experts estimate that demand in 2050 for hydrogen solely for energy could range from 39–161 Mtpa. 

The research paper highlights decarbonization as the main driver for using hydrogen for energy, whether the value chain involves transporting it as compressed gaseous hydrogen, liquid (cryogenic) hydrogen, ammonia or as hydrogenated liquid organic hydrogen carrier.