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Hydrogen Safety Test Center for the Development of New Test Standards and Optimization of Safety Technology (Photo: KIT)

Various options are possible for this; from underground storage facilities to the existing natural gas network to new technologies.

Helmholtz scientists are investigating the advantages and disadvantages of underground storage sites and natural gas storage facilities for the safe storage of hydrogen. The natural gas network is also suitable for transporting gaseous hydrogen. However, hydrogen can also be stored in solids. When heated, these so-called hydride stores release the hydrogen again.

Another possibility is that hydrogen can react with unsaturated organic compounds to form an energy-rich liquid ("liquid organic hydrogen carrier," or LOHC) that can be stored or transported in a similar way to crude oil. It can be transported safely by tankers and trains.

Helmholtz researchers are further developing such hydride storage and LOHC technologies.

Chemical Hydrogen Storage

Researchers design innovative chemical hydrogen storage technologies, related catalytic processes and material technologies. These include hydrogen storage using LOHC (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier) systems. LOHC technologies can store large quantities of hydrogen with high volumetric energy density.

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Safe and efficient storage of hydrogen in solid fuel storage

Currently, fuel-cell cars initially save the hydrogen in massive tanks, which has to withstand a pressure of up to 700 bar. They can be refueled quickly but the technological effort to make the pressurized tank safe is considerable. This is why the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht is taking another route: Saving the gas in chemical compounds, known as metal hydrides.

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From the Lab to the Rails

Innovative storage and drive technologies are important building blocks for an environmentally compatible energy supply and sustainable mobility. Scientists therefore want to equip trains with LOHC technology. In this process, gaseous hydrogen is bound to a non-hazardous carrier fluid that can be safely stored and transported.

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Hydrogen Safety Test Center

At the Hydrogen Test Center HYKA, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) conducts research on hydrogen safety. To develop new test standards and to optimize safety technology, the researchers conduct hydrogen safety tests on an industrial scale. In addition, they investigate the basic behavior of hydrogen, from distribution to combustion.

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Store hydrogen in salt caverns

Hydrogen is becoming an increasingly important source of energy for sector integration within the framework of the energy transition. HyCavMobil (Hydrogen Cavern for Mobility) is a research project that examines whether hydrogen can be stored in salt caverns and then used for fuel cell mobility.

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Porous storage facilities in sandstone aquifers

There is no alternative to the storage potential for hydrogen in the geological underground. Due to the geological conditions in Germany and Europe, porous storage facilities in sandstone aquifers will have to supplement salt caverns. The German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ is designing a demonstration project and conducting accompanying research on the physical, chemical and microbial interactions of hydrogen with the storage and cap rock of the deposits.

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Chemical energy storage

In the research project DELTA, the Helmholtz Centre Desden-Rossendorf is developing a flexible apparatus for the electrochemical production of hydrogen with integrated, heterogeneously catalyzed hydrocarbon synthesis based on CO2 and water vapor.

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