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Hydrogen Balloon Transportation: A Cheap and Efficiency Mode to Transport Hydrogen


The chances of a global hydrogen economy becoming a reality have increased significantly since the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and for net zero carbon emissions. However, intercontinental hydrogen transport is still a major issue. This study suggests transporting hydrogen as a gas at atmospheric pressure in balloons using the natural flow of wind to carry the balloon to its destination. We investigate the average wind speeds, atmospheric pressure, and temperature at different altitudes for this purpose. The ideal altitudes to transport hydrogen with balloons are 10 km or lower, and hydrogen pressures in the balloon vary from 0.25 to 1 bar. Transporting hydrogen from North America to Europe at a maximum 4 km altitude would take around 4.8 days on average. Hydrogen balloon transportation cost is estimated at 0.08 USD/kg of hydrogen, which is around 12 times smaller than the cost of transporting liquified hydrogen from the USA to Europe. Due to its reduced energy consumption and capital cost, in some locations, hydrogen balloon transportation might be a viable option for shipping hydrogen compared to liquefied hydrogen and other transport technologies.

Funding source: We gratefully acknowledge the financial contribution from the GEIGC project ‘Research on development modes and quantitative assessment of carbon-based resources in life cycle to achieving global carbon neutrality’ (No.SGGEIG00JYJS2200051) to this research.
Countries: Austria ; Brazil ; Saudi Arabia

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