“Why Shipping Pure Hydrogen Around The World Might Already Be Dead In The Water”

By Die kalte Sonne

One can truly argue that the Champagne of the energy transition is hydrogen. Champagne is so expensive because it can only come from a very specific region, where a brand was built up early on. Connoisseurs know this and drink an equally good Crémant for less money.

Hydrogen, on the other hand, is expensive because when it is used in a power plant during solar and wind energy lulls, 65-75% of the original energy used is lost. Rechargenews has an article that now suggests ammonia instead of hydrogen

The truth is that hydrogen’s unsurpassable energy density by weight is irrelevant. When being transported in giant metal tanks, what really matters is its energy density by volume.

“Hydrogen transport by ship is technically possible for larger distances where pipelines are not an option. Because of its low energy density by volume, gaseous hydrogen is best converted into a more energy-dense liquid before being loaded onto a ship,” says Irena’s recent report, Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation: The Hydrogen Factor. “There are several vectors for hydrogen transport via ship, but ammonia is the most promising.”

At normal atmospheric pressure, hydrogen contains just 3 kWh of energy per cubic meter, so it either has to be compressed or liquefied to increase its energy density — to 1,411 kWh/m3 (at a pressure of 700 bar), or 2,350 kWh/m3 when super-cooled to a liquid at a not so balmy -253°C.
The volumetric energy density of ammonia is 59% higher — at 3,730 kWh/m3 when stored in its standard liquid form at -33.3°C.

So, assuming same-sized vessels, it would theoretically take more than three shipments of liquid hydrogen (LH2) to transport the same amount of energy as two shipments of liquid ammonia (LNH3).”

We prefer not to speculate on what the name for liquid ammonia might be, should this form of transporting energy become established.

7 responses to ““Why Shipping Pure Hydrogen Around The World Might Already Be Dead In The Water””

  1. “Why Shipping Pure Hydrogen Around the World Might Already Be Dead in The Water” – Climate- Science.press

    […] “Why Shipping Pure Hydrogen Around The World Might Already Be Dead In The Water” […]

  2. pochas94

    We’ll see. If hydrogen is good enough for airbus, it’s good enough for lots of things.


    1. Graeme No.3

      Don’t hold your breath. That sounds more like something from the Publicity Dept. not from the Engineering Dept.

      1. oebele bruinsma


  3. ColA
  4. Graeme No.3

    As a consumer of Crémant I would ask how will they extract power from hydrogen or ammonia. The assumption seems to be either existing engines, gas turbines or a (as not yet operating) fuel cell.
    The problem I see is the high flame temperature of hydrogen. During combustion with air this causes nitrogen oxides which there has been considerable angst recently involving diesel vehicles. And burning nitrogen containing ammonia?
    The other drawback is that the turbine blades struggle with that temperature too. Modern aircraft turbines have micro channels in the blades with liquid fuel flowing through them to cool them slightly. When installed as stationary gas turbines in power stations I believe that only 5% hydrogen is acceptable.

  5. oebele bruinsma

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