Liebreich: Shipping liquid hydrogen is not going to be a thing

OVERKILL

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Great twitter thread with some technical data that I'm going to post here, as I think the membership (ahem @alarmguy) might benefit from reading it.


A thread for those who think we're going to be importing lots of hydrogen over vast distances.

1. Shipping liquid hydrogen is not going to be a thing. To understand why, you need to understand that hydrogen is basically liquid, -253C escapey, explodey expanded polystyrene.

1669482272484.jpg

2. What this means is that any comparison with LNG is, ahem, bollox. We cracked LNG shipping, but it's the most expensive gas on the market. And shipping the same BTUs as liquid hydrogen would require 3-4 times as many ships. Because of physics, not lack of learning, scale, etc.
1669482308024.jpg


3. Liquifying hydrogen is also a complete bear. It currently consumes 35% to 45% of the Lower Heating Value of the input. If you don't know about LHV and HHV, or about ortho-para isomer conversion, please read more and tweet less about liquid hydrogen! https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2022/ee/d2ee00099g

4. Then there's the fun stuff. Hydrogen, which is liquid at -253C and much less dense than LNG, is likely to have up to 9x more boil-off (ie loss during transit, of which only part fuels the ship) and 2x more "sloshing", which is dangerous. https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/15/6/2046/htm

5. Can liquid hydrogen re-use infrastructure created for LNG? Power supply and docks, sure; 70% of pipelines may be re-purposed. But not the liquefaction and gasification plants, compressors, storage tanks, etc. Vital to listen to independent experts! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/re-using-lng-terminals-hydrogen-paul-martin

6. OK, are we done with the absurd notion of transporting liquid hydrogen? In fact, LH2 will have no role anywhere in energy and transport. The only way to transport hydrogen economically is by pipeline. Or of course as ammonia, or in metal hydride or liquid organic carriers.

7. Let's deal with Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC). Bung H2 into benzyl toluene and it's stable at ambient temp & pressure. Great! Except you get just 54kg H2 for every m3 of solvent, even worse than liquid hydrogen. May work for stationary storage, useless for shipping.

1669482455716.jpg


8. Metal hydrides have the same problems as LOHC for shipping: the energy carried per unit volume is just too low to be economically viable. AND you have to send the ship back full (fuel cost), AND you have to apply heat at the destination to release the hydrogen (losses). #Fail

9. So that leaves ammonia. Yes, we can and will ship ammonia. The question is WHY SHIP AMMONIA? If it's for fertiliser or industrial use, go clean ammonia! But if it's to import green electricity, nested inefficiencies mean huge cycle losses - and HVDC kills it. Systems thinking!

1669482501634.jpg


10. Japan is hanging its entire decarbonisation strategy on clean ammonia imports. OK it can't import power via HVDC, but it can do nuclear and vast amounts of offshore wind. Betting on ammonia will mean punitive power prices and de-industrialisation. Sad. https://about.bnef.com/blog/japans-...renewables-present-more-economic-alternative/

11. Finally, efuels. Yes! E-methanol for shipping fuels solves the serious safety issues associated with ammonia. E-jet fuel may be needed for aviation if SAF is volume-limited. But e-fuels will be very expensive. You need HYDROGEN and CARBON and you need to COMBINE them.

12. So that's why imports of hydrogen and its derivatives will be far lower than you might think. Clean Hydrogen is vitally important to decarbonise certain sectors, but claims it can deliver 20% of CO2 abatement by 2050 are an order of magnitude too high. Electrify everything!
 
Part of what I do for a living is loading liquid H2 tanker trailers. When the drivers bring back an empty, they uncouple their tractor from it, throw a tractor that's on it's off day or a yard horse under the empty for me and I take it from there. Product comes right off the make line or out of the LH2 storage tanks and into the trailers through vacuum insulated piping and hoses at about 10psig. Vapor from the trailers are recovered back into the plant. Trailers come back empty typically with ~20-100psig pressure on them which needs to be recovered down lower than product pressure. Even when empty, the trailers will stay cold for a week or more.

These cryo tankers weigh about 50000lb empty. Add a 20000 sleeper tractor to it and about 7000-8000 lbs of liquid H2. The gross weight at the end tends to be close to 80K lbs. The parts of the trailer that touch the product are all aluminum and stainless. The inner tank and piping that you can't see because it's in the insulated space is aluminum. There's all kinds of fortification between the inner tank and outer jacket and a vacuum is pulled on the annular space to provide the insulation. With a good vacuum and some product in the tank, the trailer will happily equalize at around 10psig pressure. If the vacuum is lost due to a leak, the outer jacket of the trailer will frost up and the trailer will build pressure to the point it will lift it's relief valves and/or rupture disks if not vented manually. I've had them come back this way many times over the years. A ~200psig saftey blowing every 10sec and shooting a NASA quality rocket flame straight up into the air with incredible bomb going off noise. In those cases I have to don the proper PPE and vent the trailer down, so I can recover all the liquid/vapor off it it. Next is warming the trailer up so it will accept N2 gas so it can be purged out of service. Try to cram N2 gas in a trailer at liquid H2 temps and the N2 will freeze solid.

These trailers alone are ~$4M these days, then tractors, team drivers, etc to drag it around the country to load customer's tanks.

Sorry to bore you fellas. LOL After all these years the job is still interesting to me. Just wanted to share what's involved in the H2 craze.
 
And that's why Canada's Prime Minister is a joke. Drama Teacher turned prime minister. I'm so ashamed of my country.

 
And that's why Canada's Prime Minister is a joke. Drama Teacher turned prime minister. I'm so ashamed of my country.

Not a good thing for the “peoplekind” up that way (Oh, just back from NL - they agree) …
 
I like #3, lol.

So this guy is an HVDC pusher? Good luck with protection of those conductors.
 
Shipping liquid hydrogen doesn't make sense at all. If anything it makes sense to ship the raw material where the hydrogen came from and then refine locally into hydrogen.

HVDC is great for sending energy far away, either as a NIMBY solution (I don't want nuke or coal plant in my neighborhood) or to balance between variable demand across large area.

Physics would say ideally Japan, South Korea, North Korea, China should tie their grid together but in practice, politics prevent that.
 
Great twitter thread with some technical data that I'm going to post here, as I think the membership (ahem @alarmguy) might benefit from reading it.


A thread for those who think we're going to be importing lots of hydrogen over vast distances.

1. Shipping liquid hydrogen is not going to be a thing. To understand why, you need to understand that hydrogen is basically liquid, -253C escapey, explodey expanded polystyrene.

View attachment 128052

2. What this means is that any comparison with LNG is, ahem, bollox. We cracked LNG shipping, but it's the most expensive gas on the market. And shipping the same BTUs as liquid hydrogen would require 3-4 times as many ships. Because of physics, not lack of learning, scale, etc.
View attachment 128053

3. Liquifying hydrogen is also a complete bear. It currently consumes 35% to 45% of the Lower Heating Value of the input. If you don't know about LHV and HHV, or about ortho-para isomer conversion, please read more and tweet less about liquid hydrogen! https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2022/ee/d2ee00099g

4. Then there's the fun stuff. Hydrogen, which is liquid at -253C and much less dense than LNG, is likely to have up to 9x more boil-off (ie loss during transit, of which only part fuels the ship) and 2x more "sloshing", which is dangerous. https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/15/6/2046/htm

5. Can liquid hydrogen re-use infrastructure created for LNG? Power supply and docks, sure; 70% of pipelines may be re-purposed. But not the liquefaction and gasification plants, compressors, storage tanks, etc. Vital to listen to independent experts! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/re-using-lng-terminals-hydrogen-paul-martin

6. OK, are we done with the absurd notion of transporting liquid hydrogen? In fact, LH2 will have no role anywhere in energy and transport. The only way to transport hydrogen economically is by pipeline. Or of course as ammonia, or in metal hydride or liquid organic carriers.

7. Let's deal with Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC). Bung H2 into benzyl toluene and it's stable at ambient temp & pressure. Great! Except you get just 54kg H2 for every m3 of solvent, even worse than liquid hydrogen. May work for stationary storage, useless for shipping.

View attachment 128054

8. Metal hydrides have the same problems as LOHC for shipping: the energy carried per unit volume is just too low to be economically viable. AND you have to send the ship back full (fuel cost), AND you have to apply heat at the destination to release the hydrogen (losses). #Fail

9. So that leaves ammonia. Yes, we can and will ship ammonia. The question is WHY SHIP AMMONIA? If it's for fertiliser or industrial use, go clean ammonia! But if it's to import green electricity, nested inefficiencies mean huge cycle losses - and HVDC kills it. Systems thinking!

View attachment 128055

10. Japan is hanging its entire decarbonisation strategy on clean ammonia imports. OK it can't import power via HVDC, but it can do nuclear and vast amounts of offshore wind. Betting on ammonia will mean punitive power prices and de-industrialisation. Sad. https://about.bnef.com/blog/japans-...renewables-present-more-economic-alternative/

11. Finally, efuels. Yes! E-methanol for shipping fuels solves the serious safety issues associated with ammonia. E-jet fuel may be needed for aviation if SAF is volume-limited. But e-fuels will be very expensive. You need HYDROGEN and CARBON and you need to COMBINE them.

12. So that's why imports of hydrogen and its derivatives will be far lower than you might think. Clean Hydrogen is vitally important to decarbonise certain sectors, but claims it can deliver 20% of CO2 abatement by 2050 are an order of magnitude too high. Electrify everything!

We all benefit from that.. Thanks.
 
I like #3, lol.

So this guy is an HVDC pusher? Good luck with protection of those conductors.
I think he's just pointing out that HVDC is a lot more viable than high volume production and shipping of hydrogen. There are plenty of places using HVDC (Quebec for example) for long hauls without issue, quite unlike hydrogen.
 
Yes, I understand Quebec and New York will be hooked up by a line that is underground in certain NIMBY hoods. Also, British Columbia and California are hooked up, partially on a DC line I believe. The power moves both ways. Up to BC in the winter. Down to California in the summer. Excess solar power in the spring and fall periods will be making it to BC in increasing large amounts.
 
By the way, the circle shows the line that crosses the US border and delivers Alberta natural gas to California. About 14% of Cali’s power depends upon this line. I’ll put on a black touque and take a snap of the control valves near the border next time I’m by. It’s about an hour south of Cranbrook ( where I do my shopping). What’s missing on the map is a small section of connector to the green line. Don’t know why.

DD1BEBB9-B1B7-474D-8889-EB3F9CD142A0.jpeg
 
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