How viable is hydrogen as an energy storage medium? It would be extremely easy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen . It also has high energy content so relatively a large amount of energy can be stored with a small amount of hydrogen. How efficient would be hydrogen for storing energy?

  • $\begingroup$ More of a question for the chemistry Q&A. $\endgroup$
    – user154997
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Yes hydrogen is explosive but so are a lot of other things we use such as deodrants, LPG , etc. $\endgroup$
    – Dev Rajput
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ Electrolyis is not efficient neither is generating power from it. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ This is the basis for fuel cells. $\endgroup$
    – pwf
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


Hydrogen has some issues for energy storage. The biggest one is density. It isn't very dense compared to hydrocarbon fuels and compressing it costs you money. So you either have a huge tank or compressors that use up a lot of the energy your system is harvesting. It also embrittles a lot of metals so you have pipes and tanks breaking after a while. It also leaks really easily (small molecules) so pipe fitup has to be really good.

How bad is the density problem? At 700 atmospheres, hydrogen only has 1/3 the energy density of gasoline. And getting stuff compressed to that pressure is going to be costly.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The density problem makes it less useful for vehicles, but it's not such a big problem for fixed installations where you can have large storage tanks. On the other hand, would you want to be working or living next to a huge bomb like that? As back-up power or for short-range or low-demand vehicles (or spacecraft!) it can be useful. $\endgroup$
    – pwf
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 23:15

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