Hydrogen Handling – What’s the Story Behind Your Hydrogen Journey?




Hydrogen Handling – What’s the story behind your hydrogen journey?.


As Europe moves towards Net Zero, hydrogen offers a clean solution to parts of the economy that are difficult to decarbonise – particularly heavy-duty transportation. The freight transport sector is traditionally harder to electrify as heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) require significantly more energy storage capacity than passenger cars due to their larger size and heavier load.


Hydrogen, an abundant natural resource, may provide a better option due to its traditional nozzle- filling familiarity. The EU plans to have 6800km of H2 pipeline by 2030, with a greater demand for production than ever.


But how does your hydrogen get to the pump? How is it produced, transported and stored? Fueling expert, Dover Fueling Solutions, explores the potential challenges and opportunities of hydrogen handling for station owners.


How is hydrogen produced?


Hydrogen is produced in a number of different ways, with some processes creating more greenhouse gas emissions than others. Scientists have used colours to classify these accordingly,


  • Grey: Most of today’s hydrogen production is grey, generated from natural gas or methane through steam reforming. This produces GHG and is the least eco-friendly.
  • Blue: While undergoing steam reforming, a high proportion of the carbon generated can be captured and stored underground. This is classified as low carbon, blue hydrogen.
  • Green: The most eco-friendly variant, green hydrogen is classified as completely carbon-free. This is made by using electricity from renewable sources to split water molecules into hydrogen and water.


How is hydrogen distributed?


Hydrogen distribution typically occurs via three channels: pipes, high-pressure tube trailers for gas, and liquefied hydrogen tankers. However, this is generally very expensive, no matter the distribution method, meaning much hydrogen production takes place on-site or close to where it is used.


Currently, the average price of hydrogen is between 9 and 12 euros per kilogram. Pipeline: Underground pipelines remain the least expensive way of distributing hydrogen. Presently,

Germany has the largest hydrogen pipeline infrastructure with 3827km in length. Bulgaria has

3312km and Italy 2552km. This is a strong option for larger hydrogen stations.


Tube trailers: These make up another part of the Hydrogen highway. Typically, because of the use of trucks, railcars, ships or barges, these may be a more expensive option. These are especially

effective for smaller-capacity hydrogen stations.


Hydrogen Tankers: Through the cryogenic process, hydrogen is cooled to a temperature where it becomes a liquid. Although this can be expensive, it allows for more efficient transportation either by truck, railcar or ship and are an effective mean of carrying as much hydrogen as possible between continents. Liquefied hydrogen – frozen to a temperature of absolute zero (-252.8 degrees) – allows more hydrogen to be transported.


Hydrogen Onsite: On-site hydrogen production using electrolysers is another option, especially if

powered by wind turbines. Generators simply need to be hooked up to electricity and a natural gas source for independent hydrogen production. High-pressure storage tanks allow for large volumes of hydrogen to be stored in a small space.


How is hydrogen stored?

Once the hydrogen has reached your refilling station or forecourt, the fuel can be stored physically as a gas or a liquid. Gas storage will typically require high-pressure tanks up to 1000 bar tank pressure, while liquids will again need to be cooled around -253 degrees Celsius.


One benefit of storing via gas is that gaseous hydrogen can be stored for long periods without losing gas. It does, however, come with its challenges of high pressurisation.


Dispensing Hydrogen


The ultimate goal is for hydrogen to deliver a similar refueling experience to traditional fuel. This
has, however, transitioned from early passenger car experiments in California to more of a heavy- duty transport experience in Europe.


Because of its gas form, the dispensing is more comparable to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
Statistically, hydrogen dispensers currently deliver a flow rate of around 3.6kg per minute, or 60
gr/sec, with the market presently aiming at higher flow rates of 7.2kg to 10kg per minute on
average, to optimise the refilling experience for drivers.


Domenico Sicilia, Business Development Director at Dover Fueling Solutions, advises:


Hydrogen has emerged as one of the greenest alternatives to fossil fuels, particularly within the heavy-duty transport sector.


“For those looking to make the transition, station owners should invest in the requisite certified dispensers in addition to cooling stations/chillers to improve flow rate and capacity.”


“Our DFS Hydrogen dispenser has been expertly designed for reliable performance against a low
total cost of ownership. It harnesses cutting-edge technology to provide H35 and H70 dispensing alongside an intuitive, digitised user experience. If you’re looking to embrace a cleaner, greener future, we’d be happy to assist wherever the road may take us.”



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