New Hydrogen Supply Chain Study Highlights Benefits of Compression

May 22, 2023

H2Leo courtesy of Provaris
H2Leo courtesy of Provaris

Provaris Energy has completed its 2023 Hydrogen Marine Transport Comparison Report and says the findings further solidify the numerous advantages of a compressed storage and maritime transport hydrogen supply chain.

In particular, it highlights that compression is a viable alternative and low-cost delivery method for the regional transport of hydrogen: energy use and losses across the entire supply chain (generation, production, and delivery) associated with liquefaction and ammonia exceed 40%, while compression remains below 20%. Compression was found to be the most cost-effective option for regional transport distances from 500 to 4000 nautical miles with volumes of up to 500,000 tonnes per annum (tpa). Liquefaction and ammonia suffer from high levels of renewable energy curtailment, energy use in the conversion process (20-30% loss), and energy use in the conversion back to gaseous hydrogen upon delivery (5-30% loss).

Provaris has consistently emphasized the importance of understanding the overall efficiency of the complete hydrogen supply chain, from renewable electricity generation through to hydrogen production and delivery to the end customer. The report identifies the energy use and losses associated with each hydrogen energy vector (compression, liquefaction and ammonia) and the significant impact they have on the full delivered cost of hydrogen. Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers have not been considered in the comparison as they are considered only to be a viable alternative for specific production and use cases.

The report ratifies that Provaris’ proprietary H2Neo (430t) and H2Max (2,000t) compressed hydrogen carriers and H2Leo compressed storage barge provide a highly competitive marine transportation (and storage) option for hydrogen, at scale over shipping distances of up to 4,000 nautical miles.

H2Leo that has been granted Approval in Principal by ABS. The solution has a design capacity range of 300 to 600 tonnes of hydrogen, expandable to up to 2,000 tonnes and will enable greater flexibility and optimization of Provaris' compressed hydrogen supply chain projects under development in Asia and Europe.‍ The development of H2Leo will run parallel to the remaining engineering and approvals for its H2Neo carrier, targeting prototype testing and final class approval later this year, with H2Leo set to become available in 2025.

Martin Carolan, Provaris Managing Director and CEO, commented: “We are witnessing a remarkable increase in awareness and comprehension of some of the formidable challenges associated with delivering green hydrogen and the need for scalable solutions before 2030. Relying predominantly on ammonia supply chains to deliver hydrogen is not necessarily an efficient solution for governments and industries that require gaseous hydrogen to achieve emission reduction targets.

“Given the urgency to take immediate action and expedite the development of supply chains, compression emerges as a key enabler that can unlock the potential of renewable resources and deliver substantial volumes to regional markets while maintaining favourable economic returns. In contrast, the liquefaction and ammonia alternatives present less favourable economics. By embracing compression as a crucial element in our hydrogen infrastructure, we ensure a swifter realisation of emission targets for hard to abate sectors and effectively address the challenges we have ahead of us.”

Garry Triglavcanin, Provaris Chief Development Officer added: “One of the key outcomes of the Report confirms that hydrogen produced from a renewable energy resource and delivered by marine transport either required: i) a process such as compression that was suitable to ‘load follow’ the variability of the renewable generation profile; or ii) for liquefaction and ammonia, to the installation of a significant level of ‘battery and hydrogen storage’ capacity to enable the hydrogen to be export ready. The latter was found to have a significant impact on the cost of producing green hydrogen.”

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