The biggest problem with the current “hydrogen revolution” is the storage and transport of hydrogen. There is a need for a concept that improves the safety of using hydrogen, significantly reducing the cost of the hydrogen dissemination plant.
Many major players in this field are making intense efforts to tackle the problem of hydrogen storage and distribution. For example, Toyota (in March this year) announced its new project of stationary hydrogen storage (up to 28.7 kg of hydrogen). These containers can be successfully (but still, due to their low capacity – modular) used in all kinds of facilities where we want to achieve partial or full year-round energy autonomy.
How is hydrogen stored and transported?
One important recent invention in this field is the “System for transporting and storing, in particular hydrogen and its mixtures”. The author reached here for the most critical element of the entire hydrogen revolution, which is commonly known: how to safely and cheaply store and transport hydrogen, both for industrial purposes and for domestic use with hydrogen transportation companies. The invention is not only limited to a green hydrogen storage solution but also presents a completely integrated system for its distribution and use.
It is a proposal for a comprehensive and systemic solution to the problem of hydrogen storage and transport, including enabling the construction of fully energy-autonomous houses and other public utilities as well as workplaces, hydrogen or electricity consumption points using renewable energy (green hydrogen), and possible central energy surpluses, based on hydrogen.
What are methods of storing hydrogen?
The author presents a solution that is very simple and cheap to produce and operate. Taking hydrogen storage containers from buildings and placing them in the ground around them in the form of U-PIPE not only does not take up an additional exploitation field but above all is a very safe solution and gives each user, thanks to this simple procedure, a great sense of security in relation to other solutions currently available. It reduces the cost of the numerous expensive security systems required. A possible hydrogen explosion (which can always happen in the most secure hydrogen storage facilities), in his conception, will not cause any danger to people or material losses. This is due to the obvious features of hydrogen in its invention – the best possible prophylaxis and buffer, which is soil.
Scope of Invention
The use of a closed water cycle is also important here, which is not only ecological but also significantly reduces the cost of hydrogen energy itself.
In order to produce one 1 kg of hydrogen, as is well known, you need to use as much as 9 liters of demineralized water (cost about $ 0.25 per liter). In his scheme, thanks to the possibility of recovering this water (as a by-product in the production of electricity from hydrogen), it can be reused for the production of hydrogen (closed cycle), which can significantly reduce the cost of producing 1 kg of hydrogen alone by about 1.25 USD while saving the same water consumption. Hydrogen storage cost per kg will be observed.
This invention also allows for practically unlimited scaling of hydrogen storage and its use for any size, even such high energy needs.
Therefore, to sum up – at a very low cost, it will be possible to obtain a fully capacious and safe hydrogen energy storage facility for year-round storage and use of surplus energy from renewable sources, collected mainly in the summer months, and to adjust the storage capacity to the individual needs of a single energy consumer.
In almost every latitude in this concept, hydrogen can give us the desired autonomy and energy freedom.
In the second part of his invention, the inventor developed an inexpensive pipeline network system for many hydrogen consumers and producers, where the production points are also hydrogen pumping stations in the system. Thanks to this solution, it is possible to connect many recipients, prosumers, and producers to one regional network, while having a very efficient and safe underground hydrogen storage. This network is not exposed to any climatic influences, it can efficiently connect many points together while maintaining high-security standards, and it is very safe (comprehensive Distributed Energy).
Looking at the illustrations shown here, it seems that running underground hydrogen pipelines is nothing new and well-known. However, this is an apparent impression, because this concept is about the entire system of pipelines conducted in a given area using a highly developed technique of horizontal drilling (horizontal drilling or drilling), i.e. at greater depths.
Hydrogen refueling stations built according to his idea will certainly not have to take up as much space and have such large security zones as before. This is due to the lack of cubature hydrogen tanks (and land in cities is expensive), as hydrogen can flow directly to the distributors through pipes “from below”. In this way, it will be possible to supply and store hydrogen for virtually every customer, from every hydrogen producer and hydrogen storage companies. By constructing completely new networks of the supply system in this way, it will be possible to very safely store almost any amount of hydrogen in the underground pipe network. The possibility of refueling cars at much cheaper and smaller hydrogen stations is one of the functions of this system (actually an addition), as is the possibility of liquefying this hydrogen at selected points, for example at airports. The need to transport hydrogen in tanks from the producer to the consumer, its reloading and thus eliminating any human factor will be eliminated once and for all. (economy and full safety).
Transportation of hydrogen
What is the best way to transport hydrogen?
Currently, hydrogen is normally stored and transported under a pressure of 700 bar. For example, an 11 km U-tube with a diameter of 30 cm can contain nearly 25,000 kg of hydrogen at a time there at a standard pressure of 700 bar. Such a warehouse can supply 190 single-family houses in northern climates all year round (assuming the energy needs of each house at the average level of as much as 4,500 kWh per year free energy) or refuel from zero to full up to nearly 4,500 Toyota Mirais at one time.
Is hydrogen easy to store and transport?
The hydrogen taken and consumed from the filled buffer system is always automatically replenished by RES installations connected to the System and working (as far as possible). In a different assumption, if we assume that the diagram shown above is inhabited by approx. 380,000 people (i.e. approx. 1% of the Polish population), and there are approx. 1,200 km of pipes with a diameter of only 30 cm underground in various configurations, then using a simple calculation, it can be determined that we can store energy there for about 20 days of their comprehensive energy demand, so the sun may not shine their for so many days, the wind may not blow there (which is unlikely to happen), and this time will not run out of energy! It is therefore a huge buffer store for renewable energy that can always be expanded endlessly by means of multi-level (horizontal and vertical) laying of new pipes. Of course, these are estimates as a concept for further implementation, research, and calculations. However, this concept is completely realistic and feasible, which is already confirmed by the Patent Office itself in the preliminary opinion.
If there is a need to connect to such a grid one very large plant that consumes large amounts of energy or only hydrogen in the production process (e.g. nitrogen fertilizer producers), it is possible to build such a network around such a plant, e.g. within a radius of approx. 50 km (solar farms or wind power plants) operating and supplying hydrogen/energy with this system to the main consumer/plant.
Inventor emphasizes that we must constantly think about an extremely important psychological aspect, which still exists at this level of universal, preliminary social acceptance for hydrogen technologies. Because hydrogen is the fuel of the future, little is known at the level of everyday use, very strongly associated with unbridled explosive force and danger. That is why all manufacturers of other hydrogen storage methods devote so much attention to the often very expensive security features in order to give the end consumer 100% security, which, however, will never be fully realized.
In this solution, such a possible explosion/leak is fully predictable and therefore controlled. Therefore, it cannot cause any serious human problems or material loss. In addition, placing all elements of the system underground naturally strengthens the tightness of the system, reduces the cost of pipes, and thanks to the properties of the soil, almost completely eliminates any small losses/leaks of hydrogen. Although hydrogen is not a greenhouse gas, even its minimal possible presence in the earth’s atmosphere causes significant, multiple slowdowns in the decomposition of other greenhouse gases, which has recently been definitely confirmed by English scientists in their research – Atmospheric implications of increased Hydrogen use Nicola Warwick, Paul Griffiths, James Keeble, Alexander Archibald, John Pyle, University of Cambridge and NCAS and Keith Shine, University of Reading.
The invention is currently in the commercialization stage, and the team behind it is open for discussion. You can send us a message through the EnergyNews.Biz Contact form.
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