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Hydrogen storage

Safe and compliant hydrogen storage installation, maintenance, and response.

We provide installation, maintenance, and response for hydrogen storage to ensure your operation remains compliant with current standards and guidelines, reducing your risk of an environmental incident.

Hydrogen is a naturally occurring gas which can be used as energy.

It is light, colourless, odourless, non-toxic, and combustible. This makes it more explosive, it can weaken metal pipework leading to cracking, and is harder to contain as it has a smaller molecular structure and is lighter than other gasses.

The Government introduced The UK Hydrogen Strategy in October 2021 which sets out plans to use hydrogen to provide clean energy to some of our most polluting and energy intensive sectors, including transport, industry, and heating.  The Ten Point Plan will create 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. It is investing £20 million in freight trials to pioneer hydrogen and other zero emission lorries, to support industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs in the UK.

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Features and outputs

  • Compliant installation of new fuel infrastructure technology through Group company Flotech.
  • Ensure safe and compliant maintenance of existing hydrogen fuel infrastructure.

Not all hydrogen is the same

There are three different types of hydrogen:

Green hydrogen

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water using renewable energy. It is considered the cleanest and most sustainable hydrogen due to the lower carbon emissions and zero pollution.

Grey hydrogen

Grey hydrogen is made from methane which is a natural gas. Steam methane reformation creates hydrogen as well as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. The carbon is not captured and stored, therefore grey hydrogen is seen as the least environmentally sustainable.

Blue hydrogen

Blue hydrogen is formed in the same way as grey hydrogen, but it does use carbon capture and storage resulting in hydrogen that produces no CO2.

Hydrogen vehicles

The transition to hydrogen to fuel vehicles is happening much faster than originally anticipated. There are currently 14 planned and opened hydrogen stations in the UK.

BP and Daimler Truck AG plan to roll-out hydrogen infrastructure with 25 local access ‘green’ hydrogen fuelling stations available across the UK by 2030. Hydrogen powered bus fleets are currently being operated in London, Birmingham, and Aberdeen and the Metropolitan Police has a fleet of Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo hydrogen FCEVs.

Installation

Through our group company Flotech we have the experience and technology to install hydrogen fuel infrastructure.

Hydrogen storage would be subject to DSEAR regulations, and any new installation would require a risk assessment.

Distributing hydrogen from a forecourt network can either be generated on site by electrolysis of water and stored in a dedicated pressure vessel (PV) or delivered and piped straight into the PV by gas producers.

Your forecourt must have a sufficiently large footprint to accommodate the PV containing the hydrogen as it needs to be above ground.

Maintenance

Hydrogen, like many forms of energy, can be dangerous if not stored and handled correctly. Hydrogen is stored in a liquid or gaseous state. Hydrogen gas storage typically requires the use of high-pressure tanks (350-700 bar or 5000-10,000 psi), while liquid hydrogen storage requires cryogenic temperatures to prevent it boiling back into a gas (which occurs at −252.8°C). Liquid hydrogen has advantages over compressed gas as it has a longer storage time. Due to its low boiling point storage is expensive and explosions can occur in tanks.

Because hydrogen is lighter than air any release would automatically rise. On a forecourt safety and risk assessments would need to focus on what is above the fuel pump. We would be looking for exposed electrics, lighting and there could not be a canopy.

We recommend proper and timely inspection and maintenance to ensure safe and reliable system operation. Reactive maintenance is generally unwise for equipment storing hydrogen. All maintenance activity should be documented to provide proof in the event of an incident.

Spill response

If hydrogen were to leak it is highly likely it would self-ignite and form a jet stream depending on the pressure it is under when released. Hydrogen burns with an invisible, odourless flame. It is likely a leak would be left to burn out. The length of time it would burn would depend on how much was left in the tank. Thermal imaging would identify the source and magnitude of the flame. Forecourt owners should liaise with their local fire service to establish the correct emergency response procedure to attend any unintended release.

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