Just like natural gas is being stored for eons in the underground, hydrogen could too one day be stored the same way. This is the conclusion reached by a Sandia National Laboratories study that was sponsored by DoE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office.
The underground storing solution comes at a very low cost, and could be crucial to the development of a future H2 distribution infrastructure. More research is still needed to determine if the solution is a viable one, whether “hydrogen gas mixes with residual gas or oil, reacts with minerals in the surrounding rock or poses any environmental concerns,” before implementing it at a large scale.
Toyota Mirai, Hyndai Tucson Fuel Cell or Honda’s FCV are the three candidates that will soon emerge on a market that is not quite ready for them yet. All of them have high hopes for California, where a modest hydrogen infrastructure has already been built in recent years.
However, even for California, the nearest salt caves are in Arizona, and no salt caverns exist “in the Pacific Northwest, much of the East Coast and much of the South, except for the Gulf Coast area,” according to the study.
Others have debated the solution of pumping hydrogen gas in existing natural gas pipes for transport.
All of this wakes up just one memory in my mind: Elon Musk’s statement that “hydrogen is BS.” Well, that’s debatable, too.