Existing bulk hydrogen storage methods typically take one of three primary forms, which are underground pipes, lined rock caverns, and salt caverns. However, there are drawbacks with these methods including high cost and geographic dependence.
In typical bulk hydrogen storage, the pressure ranges from 100 to 300 bar, and is one of the key current cost drivers. Two of the three current methods (lined rock caverns and salt caverns) are not available everywhere. This typically means that bulk hydrogen storage cannot be co-located with either production facilities or demand centers, which requires additional transportation mechanisms, especially for renewably sourced hydrogen. Further, cavern storage projects are unique because they are specific to the geology and location, and can involve a sophisticated subterranean engineering process.
Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a novel hydrogen warehouse that enables economical and geographically independent bulk hydrogen storage. The hydrogen warehouse consists of two main parts that provide an external environmental and physical barrier – a large volume building, and internal unpressurized bladders that store and release hydrogen as needed.
The warehouse can be constructed from any large-volume structure, and many of the typical elements of such buildings (e.g., concrete slab floor, ventilation, lighting, glazing, entrances/exits, etc.) can be omitted or substantially reduced. The hydrogen bladders are connected by piping/gas management mechanisms, and inflate and deflate as they store and release hydrogen. The bladders do not experience a substantial pressure difference between their interior and exterior, and can therefore be constructed of thin polymer material.
- Bulk hydrogen storage
- Renewable energy facilities
- Conversion to renewable electricity (e.g., solar cells, transportation fuel, chemical feedstock)
Benefits & Advantages
- Ability to store hydrogen at ambient pressure (utilizes open air space as the storage medium)
- Up to a tenfold decrease in the capital cost per kilogram of hydrogen storage capacity
- Can be built in vast numbers, in sizes and in locations dictated by convenience
- Roughly ten times the energy density of pumped hydrogen storage
Inventor Bio: https://sustainability-innovation.asu.edu/person/ivan-ermanoski/