Decarbonisation Technology August 2022 issue

LOHC: H 2 delivery pathway for emerging hydrogen market Transportation of H 2 is an important element of the emerging H 2 economy, and liquid organic hydrogen carriers could be a cost-effective choice

Sebastien Lecarpentier, Arnaud Cotte and Stephanie Decoodt Axens

I t is widely accepted now that the net-zero targets could not be achieved without a large-scale decarbonised hydrogen economy, and decarbonised hydrogen is a significant part of the low-carbon energy system. As hydrogen is already mainstream as an industrial commodity used by several industries, including refineries and chemicals, the recognition of hydrogen as a viable component of the energy transition has been faster and easier. The DOE H₂@Scale Demand Analysis report mentions that in addition to growing existing markets such as petroleum refining and ammonia production, hydrogen helps the development of new markets such as metals refining, synthetic fuel and chemical production, biofuels, fuel cells, transportation sector, industrial processes, and injection into natural gas pipelines (DOE, 2020). According to the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap, the size of the H₂ economy could be as large as 500 MTA (see Figure 1 ), including about 200 MTA of blue H₂ (IEA, 2021). Hydrogen requires a range of supporting infrastructure for production, storage, and distribution at a scale large enough for the hydrogen economy to play a key role in the energy transition. Technology for hydrogen distribution is currently available commercially, and several companies deliver bulk hydrogen today. However, future hydrogen demand will require regional expansion of this infrastructure and the development of new technologies, such as chemical carriers, to transport hydrogen at high density and high throughput. Therefore, the feasibility of transporting H₂ is an important element of the emerging H₂


Fossil By-product Fossil with CCUS Electricity










economy. The choice of hydrogen transportation technology depends on a wide array of parameters, and this article makes a case for using liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) such as toluene/MCH (methyl-cyclohexane). Transport: a key element of the hydrogen economy The most favourable renewable energy production locations are often found in remote, renewable-rich locations, whereas demand will likely be highest in heavily industrialised and densely populated areas. As shown by the IEA (see Figure 2 ), H₂ production cost, which depends on the cost of green electricity used in the electrolysers, can be reduced by a factor of almost three in countries such as Chile or Australia where renewable energy such as solar and wind is abundant compared to Europe or Japan. Figure 1 Sources of hydrogen production in the NZE, 2020-2050. In this NZE scenario, fossil with CCUS is mainly blue hydrogen, and hydrogen from electricity is green hydrogen produced through renewable sources (solar, wind, hydropower) Source: IEA (2021), Net Zero by 2050


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