Hydrogen has a key role to play in renewable energy systems owing to its flexibility as a fuel, grid-firming agent and long-term energy storage solution. Yet hydrogen storage remains challenging: the recently released CSIRO report Hydrogen Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D): Priorities and Opportunities for Australia found that virtually every aspect of hydrogen storage deens developmental research.
The underlying reason is that hydrogen is a gas with density 0.0808 kg/m3 at 300 K and 1 bar pressure (1 bar ? 0.1 MPa ? 1 atmosphere). While its thermal energy density per unit mass of 120 kJ/kg (lower heating value) is exceptionally high, the volume required to store gaseous hydrogen is unacceptably high in most circumstances (e.g. 12.4 m3 per kg at 300 K/1 bar) and the pressure required to achieve an acceptable volume (e.g. 4211 bar at 300 K to compress 1 kg H2 into 10 litres) is sufficiently high to pose its own safety and technical challenges, as well as requiring a pressure vessel much heavier than the hydrogen it contains.
The presentation will introduce the principal existing solutions to hydrogen storage, including highly compressed hydrogen at 350-1000 bar, liquid hydrogen at 20.4 K/1 bar and "solid-state" hydrogen storage in which hydrogen is absorbed into or adsorbed onto a solid. The emphasis will be on integrating hydrogen into renewable energy systems, typically including an electrolyser for hydrogen production from solar or wind energy, and a fuel cell for electricity generation from stored hydrogen when the primary resource is unavailable.
Professor of Physics | Griffith University
Evan Gray is a Professor of Physics at Griffith University. His research in solid-state physics includes fundamental aspects of the interaction of hydrogen with materials, hydrogen storage materials and hydrogen embrittlement of high-strength alloys. The experimental tools used include neutron and synchrotron x-ray beam techniques and the National Hydrogen Materials Reference Facility which he manages at Griffith University. Evan’s applied research encompasses hydrogen microgrids, hydrogen storage for off-grid electricity supply, metal-hydride compressors and computer modelling of all aspects of renewable energy systems from the device to the enterprise level. He is closely associated with the Sir Samuel Griffith Centre, a solar-powered building which demonstrates hydrogen energy technology and includes massive hydrogen storage in the form of a metal hydride.
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