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Hydrogen Storage for a Net-zero Carbon Future


If a hydrogen economy is to become a reality, along with efficient and decarbonized production and adequate transportation infrastructure, deployment of suitable hydrogen storage facilities will be crucial. This is because, due to various technical and economic reasons, there is a serious possibility of an imbalance between hydrogen supply and demand. Hydrogen storage could also be pivotal in promoting renewable energy sources and facilitating the decarbonization process by providing long duration storage options, which other forms of energy storage, such as batteries with capacity limitations or pumped hydro with geographical limitations, cannot meet. However, hydrogen is not the easiest substance to store and handle. Under ambient conditions, the extremely low volumetric energy density of hydrogen does not allow for its efficient and economic storage, which means it needs to be compressed, liquefied, or converted into other substances that are easier to handle and store. Currently, there are different hydrogen storage solutions at varying levels of technology, market, and commercial readiness, with different applications depending on the circumstances. This paper evaluates the relative merits and techno-economic features of major types of hydrogen storage options: (i) pure hydrogen storage, (ii) synthetic hydrocarbons, (iii) chemical hydrides, (iv) liquid organic hydrogen carriers, (v) metal hydrides, and (vi) porous materials. The paper also discusses the main barriers to investment in hydrogen storage and highlights key features of a viable business model, in particular the policy and regulatory framework needed to address the primary risks to which potential hydrogen storage investors are exposed.

Countries: United Kingdom

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