Techno-economic Realities of Long-Distance Hydrogen Transport
Large-scale transport of hydrogen over long distances poses significant cost and technology challenges, however—many of which stem from hydrogen’s fundamental properties, including its low volumetric energy density. To explore these issues, Clean Air Task Force commissioned KBR Inc., a Houston-based consulting firm, to model the cost of different pathways for delivering low-carbon hydrogen from likely producing regions to Europe’s largest seaport, the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.1 Specifically, the KBR analysis considered pipeline transport of gaseous hydrogen from Algeria and Norway and maritime (ship) transport of either liquid hydrogen, ammonia, or a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (methylcyclohexane) from Norway, the Arabian Gulf region, and North and South America.
Estimates of overall cost per kilogram of hydrogen delivered to Rotterdam were developed for each of three total import volumes (250,000, 1 million, and 10 million tonnes per year), which were assumed to be reached in 2030, 2040, and 2050, respectively. By accounting for each element of the value chain in developing these cost estimates, the analysis aimed to elucidate the implications of different choices with respect to hydrogen carrier, mode of transport, and export location.