5.1. Delivery paths

Hydrogen must be transported from the production point to the point of use and be handled within refueling stations or stationary power facilities. There are three different delivery methods:

  • gaseous hydrogen delivery
  • cryogenic liquid hydrogen delivery
  • new solid or liquid hydrogen carriers

The present solutions for hydrogen transportation are divided into road and rail transportation, and hydrogen pipelines. Hydrogen ocean transportation is also emerging as a promising alternative that will be available in the near future.


5.2. Road and rail

The transportation of hydrogen by road and rail can be carried out using compressed gas cylinders via tube trailers of approximately 2000 l, with a pressure of around 180-250 bar, or as a liquid in tanktainers (specialized containers for transporting liquid hydrogen) that range from 20,000 to 50,000 l, with pressure levels of 6-10 bar, and extremely low temperatures (-252.8 ºC).

Hydrogen transportation by truck (Air Liquide)

Cryogenic container (Air Liquide)

5.3. Pipelines

The hydrogen pipeline network is limited and based on natural gas technology. Western Europe owns the longest pipeline network: about 1500 km that covers part of France and the Benelux countries. The operating pressures are normally between 10 and 20 bar, with diameters between 25 and 30 cm.

AirLiquide integrated pipeline network in the Benelux countries. The red lines represent H2 (Air Liquide)

5.4. Ocean transportation

Ocean transportation of hydrogen has been studied since the late 1980s, and one of the projects by the Japanese government dealt with the design of liquid hydrogen tankers for overseas transport. Nowadays, a Japanese company (Kawasaki Heavy Industries) is developing a test vessel with a capacity of 2,500 m3.  The carrier is about 116m long and can accommodate two cargo containment systems of 1,250 m3. Hydrogen is not to be used for propulsion in the first version of this carrier.

Liquefied hydrogen transportation test vessel (Kawasaki Heavy Industries)

5.5. LOHC

The use of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs) allows transportation of hydrogen at normal temperature and pressure in 10, 20, or 40 foot standard containers. After that, hydrogen is released from the LOHC through a dehydrogenation process at the destination point.


5.6. Interesting facts

  • The first small compressed gas tank was invented around 1810 and was used to store dry coal gas (0.5 kg).
  • In 1888, the founder of Liquid Carbonic began to store liquefied carbon dioxide in cylinders.
  • A bike designed by Linde includes a 34-gram cylinder of hydrogen, which supports assisted pedaling over a range of 100 km.

Hydrogen assisted bike (Linde)

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