In our opinion, hydrogen will not be able to obtain the status of a global energy resource. However, it is quite capable of becoming one of the tools that mankind requires to solve environmental problems by implementing local projects. For instance, the serial production of new generation trains, powered by hydrogen fuel cells. They may turn out to be in demand and replace diesel locomotives in those locations where there is no infrastructure necessary to transmit electricity. And its construction is associated with high costs and lack of investment return prospects.
One of the most serious challenges in the formation of the low-carbon economy, an integral part of which will be H2, is the need to create almost from scratch the infrastructure for the production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen and hydrogen-containing gases. As part of this direction, St. Petersburg Mining University is researching gas-chemical processes and technologies for producing compounds that bind hydrogen for subsequent transportation, such as ammonia, methanol, and cyclohexane, for example. They are a kind of "semi-finished products" for the production of H2.
The relevance of these studies is due to the fact that the hydrogen molecule due to its ultra-small size is able to penetrate the crystal lattice of steel. This means that it is very difficult to evaluate the pipeline resource if it is converted to hydrogen. At the same time, methanol and some other substances, including associated petroleum gas, can be loaded into a tanker and delivered to a shipping point. There they will be used to produce H2 or other valuable components. The implementation of this project will make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions from hydrocarbon production, as well as provide European and Asian consumers with a resource that will be in demand in the future.
Research will also be carried out in this area, examining:
Stress-corrosion processes associated with steel embrittlement in the storage and pipeline transport of hydrogen and hydrogen-containing gases;
Hydrogen fuel cells in order to find scientific and technical solutions for the design and operation of energy systems, as well as to certify fuel cells for compliance with international quality standards. The main scientific objective is the research of EROI of different technologies of production, storage, transport and use of hydrogen;
A wide range of other topical scientific and technical problems of production, accumulation, transportation and use of hydrogen and hydrogen-containing gases.