A consortium led by a Shell subsidiary has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale liquid hydrogen (LH2) storage.
The consortium comprises Shell International Exploration and Production, McDermott’s CB&I Storage Solutions, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, GenH2 and the University of Houston. The DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office has asked the consortium to show that large-scale tanks, from 20,000-100,000 m3 in capacity, can be feasible and cost competitive at import and export terminals. The project will have a total budget of US$12 million (€10.3 million). DOE has awarded the consortium US$6 million, while Shell and CB&I Storage Solutions will each provide an additional US$3 million.
Plans for the project include developing a concept design for the large-scale LH2 storage tanks, and engineering and building a scaled-down demonstration tank to validate the feasibility of the design and the thermal model for commercial-scale design.
The consortium partners each bring unique expertise to the project. Shell International Exploration and Production will provide guidance on hydrogen supply chain and safety. CB&I will advise on engineering, design and LH2 construction storage. GenH2 will design and manufacture one of the world’s most advanced thermal testing devices, known as Cryostat-900. The Kennedy Space Center already has the largest LH2 storage tanks in the world so NASA brings a wealth of experience, and will work with GenH2 on novel testing development. Academics from the University of Houston will develop detailed thermal models of the proposed insulation systems.
The technologies developed as part of the project, including insulation technology, cryogenic testing equipment and thermal model, are expected to have wider, long-term benefits for LH2 applications. The project will help to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen and advance its role in the energy transition, and eventually achieve a global clean hydrogen supply chain.
‘A cost-effective, long-range hydrogen supply chain can have a transformative impact in shaping a sustainable future for energy. Our consortium recognises that this project can become a cornerstone in making that future possible. It’s a sizable engineering challenge—but we have the right people, partners and outlook to deliver this first-of-its-kind LH2 storage technology,’ says Yuri Sebregts, chief technology officer for Shell.