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Liquefaction of hydrogen

During the last 10 to 15 years, SINTEF Energy Research has been working with both the liquefaction of hydrogen and value chains in which liquid hydrogen is incorporated into either part or the whole of the chain in question.

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In particular, hydrogen in liquid form is ideally suited for transport over long distances. It is also ideal as a means of conveying the gas both to industrial users and to hydrogen filling stations used by the transport sector.

Supply of liquid hydrogen to filling stations provides full flexibility. It may easily be pumped to high pressure and gasified for storage in compressed form in a vehicle's tanks, stored as a liquid, in the case of larger vehicles, or in a partly-cooled and compressed form for future applications. The supply of hydrogen in liquid form also reduces the volume that has to be transported. This means fewer tank trucks on the road, and no need for expensive and energy-demanding compression at the filling stations.

Using current technologies, the liquefaction of hydrogen is a very energy-demanding process. This is why the development of more effective liquefaction processes is essential if hydrogen is to become an important energy carrier. As part of the EU project IDEALHY, SINTEF Energy Research was involved in the development of hydrogen liquefaction concepts for industrial applications that demonstrated an approximate 50% reduction in energy consumption compared with current plants. Shell Hydrogen, Linde Kryotechnik, WEKA, TU Dresden and Kawasaki Heavy Industries were key industrial participants in the project.

Realistically, hydrogen production in industrial volumes in Norway will have to be based on the use of fossil fuels in combination with CCS, because access to renewable sources is limited. This will also provide an excellent opportunity for the exploitation and processing of Norwegian oil and gas resources involving a minimum of CO2 emissions. Norway has access to large volumes of gas resources, and it is likely that new gas accumulations will be discovered and produced in the future. When a surplus of renewable capacity has been developed, this may be a future cost effective alternative. With this in mind, hydrogen production for export may provide a new opportunity for wealth generation based on Norwegian energy resources.

SINTEF Energy Research has, among other activities, carried out projects funded by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Gassnova/Climit.

We are currently working in the following fields

  • Concept and system development
    • Liquefaction processes and LH2-transport systems
  • Component development and testing
    • Heat exchangers
  • Concept evaluation for hydrogen production in combination with CCS
  • Interaction between hydrogen production from fossil and renewable sources
  • Hydrogen value chain assessments in which liquid hydrogen is used


The work we carry out is based primarily on our thorough knowledge of thermodynamics and our understanding of components and processes in the field of cryogenic applications. This is combined with the use of modelling, simulation and thermodynamic loss analysis tools, combined with experimental verification carried out, if necessary, to verify future concepts in terms of energy and cost efficiency.

We typically carry out the following types of project

  • Multi-client projects co-funded by the industry, the Research Council of Norway and the EU.
  • Projects funded directly by the industry in the fields of development, testing and consultation
  • Everything from basic skills development projects to applied research
  • Investigation of a range of concepts and value chains based on detailed assessments of a variety of technological components, such as liquefaction processes

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