Hydrogen supply chain optimisation for the transport sector – Focus on hydrogen purity and purification requirements

David Wickham, Adam Hawkes, Francisca Jalil-Vega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This study presents a spatially-resolved optimisation model to assess cost optimal configurations of hydrogen supply chains for the transport sector up to 2050. The model includes hydrogen grades and separation/purification technologies, offering the possibility to assess the effects that hydrogen grades play in the development of cost-effective hydrogen supply chains, including the decisions to repurpose gas distribution networks or blending hydrogen into them. The model is implemented in a case study of Great Britain, for a set of decarbonisation and learning rate scenarios. A base case with a medium carbon price scenario shows that the total discounted cost of the hydrogen supply chain is significantly higher than shown in previous studies, largely due to the additional costs from purification/separation needed to meet hydrogen purity standards for transport applications. Furthermore, it was shown that producing hydrogen from steam methane reforming with carbon capture and storage; installing new transmission pipelines; repurposing the gas distribution network to supply 100% hydrogen; and purifying hydrogen with a pressure swing adsorption system locally at the refuelling station; is a cost optimal configuration for the given technoeconomic assumptions, providing hydrogen at £6.18 per kg at the pump. Purification technologies were found to contribute to 14% and 30% of total discounted investment and operation costs respectively, highlighting the importance of explicitly including them into hydrogen supply chain models for the transport sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117740
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Gas distribution network
  • Hydrogen
  • Hydrogen purification
  • Hydrogen purity
  • Hydrogen supply chain
  • hydrogen-to-vehicle


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