Hydrogen storage is a technology that is important for the successful and useful commercialization of vehicles using hydrogen as a fuel and their acceptance in the market. Hence, it is anticipated that increasing market of vehicles based on hydrogen fuel would propel the demand for hydrogen storage market. Hydrogen has high energy per mass and low density, and storage techniques have the capacity to increase the energy levels of hydrogen. Hydrogen can be stored physically in the form of liquid or gas and also as material based, which is stored in compounds.
Storing hydrogen in gaseous state needs high-pressure tanks while storage as liquid needs cryogenic temperatures. Hydrogen is stored in condensed state on the surface of solids through absorption within the matter (chemisorption) or through adsorption (physisorption) process. Potential elements that can store hydrogen are beryllium, lithium, boron, nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, sulfur, phosphorus, and silicon.
Increasing concentration on research & development in the hydrogen storage technology is a major trend being witnessed in the market. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on research to develop the technology employed in hydrogen and fuel cells by countries such as the U.S., India, and the U.K. This has resulted in the availability of sufficient hydrogen storage capacity for portable power generation, on-board light-duty vehicles, and material-handling equipment. This will eventually help reach the targets set by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Another emerging trend in the market is the rising acceptance of hydrogen in the solid form. This form of hydrogen storage is projected to draw enormous investments in the forthcoming period. Technological advancements in the hydrogen and fuel cells, and rising government initiatives such as the new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) are expected to boost the acceptance of hydrogen storage technologies worldwide.
As per the report by Grand View Research, Inc., the hydrogen storage market is poised to rise to a valuation of USD 6.47 billion by 2025, with Asia Pacific occupying the major market share. Rising awareness about the importance of renewable energy storage along with rapid industrialization is anticipated to propel the market growth in the region over the forecast period.
North America is anticipated to account for the second largest share of the market owing to increasing demand for H2 fuel cells for fueling stations. Growing demand for refined hydrogen leading to growth in automobile industry and reducing environmental pollution is expected to propel the hydrogen storage market growth.
On the basis of application, hydrogen storage is classified into transportation, portable power, and stationary power, from which stationary power sector accounted for the largest share of the market in 2015. Rising demand for H2 for electricity as generators is anticipated to spur the development of the market over the forecast period. Stationary power application is extensively used in data centers, airports, grocery stores, hospitals, retail, telecommunications networks, homes, businesses, and utilities, among others.
In addition, transportation sector is anticipated to be the fastest growing market over the coming years. Increasing manufacturing of fuel cell vehicle and increasing advantages of H2 fuel cells in reducing greenhouse releases are anticipated to boost the hydrogen storage growth over the forecast period.
There are several methods of hydrogen storage such as cryogenics, high pressures, and chemical compounds that reversibly release H2 upon heating. Underground hydrogen storage is useful in providing grid energy storage for energy sources like wind power, and also providing fuel for transportation, mainly for airplanes and ships. Some of the hydrogen storage methods are as follows:
1) As a liquid in tanks (Cryogenics, stored at -253°C):
Cryogenic storage, cryo-compressed storage, and hydrogenation and dehydrogenation of organic compounds, demand higher hydrogen input than existing from water electrolysis worked on stochastically accessible renewables. The advantage of cryogenic storage is that it has a high energy content per unit of volume than compressed hydrogen gas and hence needs less storage space
2) As a compressed gas in high-pressure tanks:
Numerous pressure levels are established for compressed gas storage. Storage pressure levels of 200 bar and 300 bar in compressed gas cylinders and 45 bar in medium pressure tanks are usually used in the technical gas industry. In passenger vehicles, 700 bar storage pressure is becoming common whereas buses are operated from 350 bar compressed gas storage.
3) Storage in Metal Hydrides:
Metal hydrides offer a choice to store large amount of hydrogen at relatively low volume and low pressure. The metal hydrides storage density can even surpass liquid hydrogen storage. Low-temperature metal hydrides of general composition TiNi2 or LaNi5 and high-temperature aluminum or magnesium hydrides could be used for hydrogen storage.
4) As a Solid or Storage in a Substitute Chemical Form:
Hydrogen storage in chemical compounds offers an extensive range of possibilities to meet the transportation requirements, but no single material studies to date displays all the required and necessary properties. Increasing demands for charge and discharge conditions, storage capacity, cost, and stability cover the traditional disciplines of chemistry, materials science, engineering, and physics.
Global hydrogen storage market is anticipated to observe a substantial development in the forecast period owing to numerous factors impacting the storage techniques. These factors include reduction in consumption of conventional petroleum fuels, reduction in carbon emissions, and growing demand for reliable power. Storage solutions need innovations in materials performance that can only come from basic and innovative research that looks beyond the materials considered and studied.