Shell, Nasa, McDermott, University of Houston to research hydrogen storage

Shell, Nasa, McDermott, University of Houston to research hydrogen storage

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October 20, 2021 1 By Bret Williams

Shell International Exploration and Production is at the head of the consortium.

The Department of Energy granted a consortium a $6 million grant for researching hydrogen storage to help advance development in this zero-emission fuel.

The consortium will be creating and fine-tuning new ways to store liquid H2 as a fuel.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiaries and McDermott International Ltd have taken the lead over a consortium of Houston companies and institutions. The group will work together to pursue hydrogen storage technology development. Beyond the Department of Energy’s $6 million grant, Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. is contributing another $3 million to the research. Moreover, McDermott subsidiary CB&I Storage Solutions will add another $3 million. These will bring the total project budget to $12 million.

McDermott, Shell and the other consortium members will work together to demonstrate that liquid H2 tanks are a feasible way to store the renewable energy. Moreover, they also intend to show that the tanks are cost-competitive at import and export terminals, said a recent news release from the consortium. The project’s timeline is currently slated at three years.

Hydrogen Storage - Consortium definition

The hydrogen storage research consortium is meant to bring technology to make the fuel more practical.

“A cost-effective, long-range hydrogen supply chain can have a transformative impact in shaping a sustainable future for energy,” said Shell Chief Technology Officer Yuri Sebregts. “Our consortium recognizes that this project can become a cornerstone in making that future possible. It’s a sizable engineering challenge—but we have the right people, partners and outlook to deliver this first-of-its-kind liquid H2 storage technology.”

Among the other consortium participants are the NASA Cryogenics Test Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, as well as GenH2, a Titusville, Florida-based company that will work to design and build an advanced thermal testing device.

The only existing liquid hydrogen storage tank in the United States was built by CB&I Storage Solutions. It is currently located at the Kennedy Space Center, according to Vemuri Balakotaiah a professor from the University of Houston and chemical and biomolecular engineering department chair. Balakotaiah’s team of UH graduate and post doctorate students will develop detailed thermal models of the tank’s insulation material to make sure it will remain safe and stable.