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.