alternative fuels transporting the fuel of the future
2 min read | september 20, 2023
Hydrogen is poised to play a key role in the energy transition, but one of the challenges of rapid and widespread adoption is its high cost of transportation.
Investing in new research is helping advance the search for a more efficient way to move the fickle fuel.
“When you look at the end-to-end hydrogen supply chain, transportation from production to end use can account for around two-thirds of the total delivered cost (according to a 2020 and 2021 study published by the Hydrogen Council),” said Yaofan Yi, hydrogen research and development program manager for Chevron. “That gives you some sense of how challenging it is.”
As the energy transition progresses, we expect the demand for hydrogen will grow.
One solution to this challenge could come from Chevron’s decades of experience in hydroprocessing—a series of chemical reactions that remove sulfur and nitrogen impurities from hydrogen.
Yi, along with fellow scientists Bi-Zeng Zhan, team leader, and Steven Song, consulting engineer, are researching liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC).
Hydrogen in its natural state is volatile—particularly when mixed with air—and therefore difficult to transport. LOHCs absorb and release hydrogen through chemical reactions, a process that enables safe and efficient transportation of hydrogen.
Transporting hydrogen is also very energy intensive.
“The challenge is how to do it more efficiently,” Song said. “We have the tools, we have the experience, so that’s what we are working on.”
Chevron has been involved in hydroprocessing for more than 60 years. According to Song, that experience is one of the advantages that can help develop the right process.
“The other advantage is that we know how to deal with larger scale production,” he said. “We are good at that. We have experience with licensing technology and running our own refineries with larger scale, so that puts us in a strong position for commercializing LOHC.”
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