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Hydrogen Production, Distribution, Storage and Power Conversion in a Hydrogen Economy - A Technology Review


To meet ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the 2035-2050 timeframe, hydrogen has been identified as a clean “green” fuel of interest. In comparison to fossil fuel use the burning of hydrogen results in zero CO2 emissions and it can be obtained from renewable energy sources. In addition to zero CO2 emissions, hydrogen has several other attractive properties such as higher gravimetric energy content and wider flammability limits than most fossil fuels. However, there are practical limitations to its widespread use at present which include low volumetric energy density in the gaseous state and high well-to-wheel costs when compared to fossil fuel production and distribution. In this paper a review is undertaken to identify the current state of development of key areas of the hydrogen network such as production, distribution, storage and power conversion technology. At present high technology costs still are a barrier to widespread hydrogen adoption but it is envisioned that as scale of production increases, then costs are likely to fall. Technical barriers to a hydrogen economy adoption are not as significant as one might think as key technologies in the hydrogen network are already mature with working prototypes already developed for technologies such as liquid hydrogen composite cryotanks and proton exchange membrane fuel cells. It is envisioned that with continuous investment to achieve requisite scale that a hydrogen economy could be realised sooner rather than later with novel concepts such as turboelectric distributed propulsion enabled by a shift to hydrogen-powered network.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United Kingdom

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