Large-scale Long-distance Land-based Hydrogen Transportation Systems: A Comparative Techno-economic and Greenhouse Gas Emission Assessment


Interest in hydrogen as an energy carrier is growing as countries look to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in hard-to-abate sectors. Previous works have focused on hydrogen production, well-to-wheel analysis of fuel cell vehicles, and vehicle refuelling costs and emissions. These studies use high-level estimates for the hydrogen transportation systems that lack sufficient granularity for techno-economic and GHG emissions analysis. In this work, we assess and compare the unit costs and emission footprints (direct and indirect) of 32 systems for hydrogen transportation. Process-based models were used to examine the transportation of pure hydrogen (hydrogen pipeline and truck transport of gaseous and liquified hydrogen), hydrogen-natural gas blends (pipeline), ammonia (pipeline), and liquid organic hydrogen carriers (pipeline and rail). We used sensitivity and uncertainty analyses to determine the parameters impacting the cost and emission estimates. At 1000 km, the pure hydrogen pipelines have a levelized cost of $0.66/kg H2 and a GHG footprint of 595 gCO2eq/kg H2. At 1000 km, ammonia, liquid organic hydrogen carrier, and truck transport scenarios are more than twice as expensive as pure hydrogen pipeline and hythane, and more than 1.5 times as expensive at 3000 km. The GHG emission footprints of pure hydrogen pipeline transport and ammonia transport are comparable, whereas all other transport systems are more than twice as high. These results may be informative for government agencies developing policies around clean hydrogen internationally.

Funding source: The authors are grateful to the Alberta Department of Energy (ADOE), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and the British Consulate-General, Calgary for the financial support to carry out this project. As a part of the University of Alberta's Future Energy Systems (FES) research initiative, this research was made possible in part thanks to funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
Countries: Canada

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