Energy 2.0

Existing Hydrogen Transport and Storage Methods

Posted on: June 23, 2008

Hydrogen is currently stored in tanks as a compressed gas or cryogenic liquid. The tanks can be transported by truck or the compressed gas can be sent across distances of less than 50 miles by pipeline

 

Safety is essential in the entire energy conversion process. This begins with production, storage, transport, distribution and utilization. Each energy form poses its own specific risk, which should be taken care. The safety of combustible energy carriers in their ignition, combustion, explosion and detonation behaviour when mixed with air is still under study.

 

Applications

Hydrogen is high in energy, yet an engine that burns pure hydrogen produces almost no pollution. NASA has used liquid hydrogen since the 1970s to propel the space shuttle and other rockets into orbit. Hydrogen fuel cells power the shuttle’s electrical systems, producing a clean byproduct—pure water, which the crew drinks. You can think of a fuel cell as a battery that is constantly replenished by adding fuel to it—it never loses its charge. A device has been designed to generate hydrogen to drive a cellular phone.

 

Fuel cells are a promising technology for use as a source of heat and electricity for buildings, and as an electrical power source for electric vehicles. Although these applications would ideally run off pure hydrogen, in the near future they are likely to be fueled with natural gas, methanol, or even gasoline. Reforming these fuels to create hydrogen will allow the use of much of our current energy infrastructure—gas stations, natural gas pipelines, etc.—while fuel cells are phased in.

 

In the future, hydrogen could also join electricity as an important energy carrier. An energy carrier stores, moves, and delivers energy in a usable form to consumers. Renewable energy sources, like the sun, can’t produce energy all the time. The sun doesn’t always shine. But hydrogen can store this energy until it is needed and can be transported to where it is needed.

 

Some experts think that hydrogen will form the basic energy infrastructure that will power future societies, replacing today’s natural gas, oil, coal, and electricity infrastructures. They see a new hydrogen economy to replace our current energy economies, although that vision probably won’t happen until far in the future.

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