Can hydrogen energy be stored?

climate change, electricity, renewables, hydropower, solar, Toshiba,

Toshiba runs the first car with hydro energy from solar power

Hydrogen is the lightest gas in the universe. One liter of this gas weighs only 90 mg under normal atmospheric pressure, which means that it is 11 times lighter than the air we breathe. If we want to use hydrogen, it has to be stored

There are different ways to storage hydrogen energy:

  1. High-pressure storage in the gaseous form
  2. Very low temperature storage in the liquid form
  3. Hydride-based storage in the solid form

High-pressure storage

The easiest way to decrease the volume of a gas, at constant temperatures, is to increase its pressure. Today, hydrogen is already being distributed in steel cylinders in which it is stored at 200 bar.

At this pressure, 5 kg of hydrogen can be stored in a 125-liter tank.

To further improve storage capacity, manufacturers are developing composite cylinders or tanks made of much lighter weight materials than steel, and which allow us to store hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bar.

Today, most car manufacturers have opted for the solution that consists in storing hydrogen in the gaseous form, at high pressure.

In the liquid form

Hydrogen turns into a liquid when it is cooled to a temperature below -250 °C. At -252.8°C and 1.013 Bar, liquid hydrogen has a density of close to 71 kg/m3. At this pressure, 5 kg of hydrogen can be stored in a 75-liter tank.

In order to maintain liquid hydrogen at this temperature, tanks must be perfectly isolated.

In the solid form

The methods used to store hydrogen in the solid form involve techniques that bring into play the mechanisms of absorption or adsorption of hydrogen by a material.

One example is to form solid metallic hydrides through the reaction of hydrogen with metal alloys like magnesium or alienates. This absorption is the result of the reversible chemical combination of hydrogen with the atoms that comprise these materials. 

Read here the research report from the University Delft
“… the continuous metallic thin film Mg -Ti system is studied from the perspective of its thermal stability…”

The latest innovations of hydrogen

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