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Green Hydrogen Unleashed: The Revolutionary Impact of Liquid Organic Carriers

Today, we delve into the fascinating world of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers, commonly known as LOHCs. This cutting-edge technology is reshaping the way we think about hydrogen transport and storage, crucial elements in advancing the hydrogen economy.

The Concept of LOHCs

LOHCs represent a transformative approach to hydrogen storage and transportation. Unlike traditional methods that require high-pressure tanks or cryogenic temperatures, LOHCs store hydrogen in a liquid organic medium. This method offers a safer, more efficient way to transport hydrogen over long distances, making it a game-changer in the energy sector.

Honeywell’s LOHC Solution

A recent breakthrough in the field comes from Honeywell, which introduced its Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier solution in April 2023. This system is engineered for the long-distance transportation of clean hydrogen, leveraging existing refinery and transportation infrastructure. It’s a cost-effective solution that simplifies the hydrogen transportation process, using a chemical process to bind hydrogen gas into a convenient liquid form. This innovation enables the use of current hydrocarbon transportation methods, like tanker trucks and pipelines, to transport hydrogen efficiently and safely.

MIT’s Powertrain Modification for Trucks

On the application front, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has made significant strides. An MIT research team successfully modified a transport truck’s powertrain to facilitate the onboard release of hydrogen from LOHCs. This development is particularly crucial for the transportation industry, offering a viable solution to reduce emissions in long-haul trucking.

The Safety and Efficiency of LOHCs

In terms of safety and efficiency, LOHCs stand out. Research has highlighted the explosion risk assessment of LOHC systems, pointing out their ability to safely absorb and release hydrogen at moderate temperatures and pressures. This makes LOHCs not only efficient but also a safer alternative to traditional high-pressure hydrogen storage methods.

Section 2: Environmental Impact and Benefits of LOHCs

In this section, we will focus on the environmental impact and benefits of LOHCs, a key aspect considering the global shift towards sustainable energy solutions.

Reducing Carbon Emissions with LOHCs

The primary environmental benefit of using LOHCs lies in their potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Traditional methods of hydrogen transportation, such as high-pressure tanks or cryogenic transport, have a larger carbon footprint due to their energy-intensive processes. LOHCs, on the other hand, enable the transportation of hydrogen in an environmentally friendlier manner. By utilizing existing infrastructure and requiring less energy for hydrogen release and absorption, LOHCs contribute to a reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Enhancing Renewable Energy Integration

LOHCs also play a crucial role in enhancing the integration of renewable energy sources. Hydrogen is often produced through electrolysis powered by renewable energy like solar or wind power. However, the intermittent nature of these sources can pose a challenge. LOHCs offer a solution by providing a means to store and transport the hydrogen produced, thus facilitating a more stable and reliable integration of renewable energy into the energy grid.

Improving Air Quality

Another significant environmental benefit of LOHCs is their contribution to improving air quality. By enabling the use of hydrogen as a clean energy source in various sectors, particularly in transportation, LOHCs help reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. This shift can lead to a noticeable decrease in air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, which are commonly associated with diesel and gasoline engines.

LOHCs in Urban Environments

The use of LOHCs can be particularly beneficial in urban environments. Cities, being high-density areas, suffer from higher levels of air pollution. Introducing hydrogen-powered vehicles using LOHC technology can lead to cleaner urban air, contributing to healthier living conditions and lower health risks associated with air pollution.

The Lifecycle Analysis of LOHCs

It is also important to consider the lifecycle analysis of LOHCs. While they offer numerous environmental benefits, it is crucial to evaluate the entire process of their production, use, and disposal. Ongoing research and development aim to optimize the lifecycle of LOHCs to ensure that their overall environmental impact is minimal and sustainable.

Section 3: Production Process and Technology Behind LOHCs

In this section, we’ll explore the intricate production process and technology behind Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs). This is a key area that is excited to share with our audience, as it sheds light on how these innovative systems work.

Hydrogenation Process

The core of LOHC technology lies in the hydrogenation process. Here, an unsaturated organic compound, typically aromatic, reacts with hydrogen in an exothermic reaction. This process is conducted at elevated pressures (around 30-50 bar) and temperatures (approximately 150-200°C), in the presence of a catalyst. The outcome is a saturated compound which can be stored or transported under ambient conditions.


When the stored hydrogen is needed again, the hydrogen-rich form of the LOHC undergoes dehydrogenation. This is an endothermic reaction occurring at higher temperatures (250-320°C), again in the presence of a catalyst. Before the hydrogen can be utilized, it often needs to be purified from LOHC steam. Efficiency is key in this process, and the heat generated in the hydrogenation phase can be reused for heating purposes or as process heat, contributing to the overall energy efficiency of the system.

Innovative Approaches

Recent advancements have proposed innovative methods to convert LOHC-bound hydrogen into electricity. One such approach involves a thermoneutral catalyzed transfer hydrogenation step, converting ketone (acetone) to secondary alcohol (2-propanol) by contacting a hydrogen-rich carrier. This process, which is CO2 emission-free and requires no external energy input, is particularly promising for mobile applications, such as in the on-board generation of electric energy.

Section 4: Commercial Applications of LOHCs

In this segment, we turn our attention to the commercial applications of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs). These applications highlight the practical utility of LOHC technology in various industries.

International Hydrogen Supply Chain

A landmark development in the commercial use of LOHC technology occurred in 2020, when Japan established the world’s first international hydrogen supply chain. This initiative, connecting Brunei and Kawasaki City, utilized toluene-based LOHC technology. This project marks a significant step in demonstrating the feasibility and efficiency of LOHCs in global hydrogen logistics.

The Methylcyclohexane-Toluene-Hydrogen (MTH) System

Dating back to the 1980s, there were efforts to use toluene, converted to methylcyclohexane through hydrogenation, as a hydrogen carrier. This concept originated in the USA and was developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland in collaboration with ETH Zurich. Even then, a prototype truck powered by hydrogen from the dehydrogenation of methylcyclohexane was created, known as the Methylcyclohexane-Toluene-Hydrogen system (MTH).

Chiyoda’s SPERA Hydrogen Delivery Business

In Japan, Chiyoda Corporation uses the Methylcyclohexane-Toluene (MCH-TOL) system as the hydrogen carrier for its SPERA hydrogen delivery business. This system has demonstrated high conversion rates and efficiency in hydrogen delivery, showcasing the potential of LOHC technology in commercial scale hydrogen logistics.

Dibenzyltoluene (DBT) for Heat Transfer Applications

Dibenzyltoluene (DBT) has been studied as an alternative to circumvent the challenges of other LOHCs. It’s currently used as a heat transfer oil, for example, under the trade name Marlotherm SH. DBT’s physico-chemical properties make it superior to other carrier substances, indicating its potential for broader applications in industrial settings.

The commercial applications of LOHCs are diverse and growing. From international hydrogen supply chains to specialized industrial uses, LOHCs are proving to be a versatile and efficient solution for hydrogen storage and transportation. As technology and infrastructure continue to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative and impactful uses of LOHCs in various sectors.

Section 5: Challenges and Future Prospects of LOHCs

In this next segment, we examine the challenges and future prospects of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs), providing insights into the hurdles this technology faces and its potential growth trajectory.

Current Challenges

One of the significant challenges in utilizing LOHCs for green hydrogen transportation is the low volumetric density of hydrogen. This aspect requires addressing to fully realize the potential of LOHCs in decarbonizing the energy and transport sectors. Additionally, the energy-intensive dehydrogenation stage in LOHC systems is a concern from an environmental perspective, as it affects the overall sustainability of the process.

Economic and Environmental Sustainability Analysis

A comparative sustainability analysis of various liquid carriers, including liquid hydrogen, liquid ammonia, synthetic natural gas, and three promising LOHCs (methanol, di-benzyl toluene, and methylcyclohexane), has highlighted the economic and environmental aspects of these options. The study suggests that by 2050, ammonia and methanol could be the most promising carriers for small- to medium-level market penetrations, while liquid hydrogen might be preferable for high-level market penetrations due to its lower levelized cost and lack of an energy-intensive dehydrogenation stage​​.

Future Prospects

Looking to the future, the development of a strategic policy framework around the globe is essential to comply with legal requirements set forth by entities like the United Nations, including the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. This approach will be crucial in promoting the adoption and scalability of LOHC technology, ensuring that it aligns with global environmental and sustainability objectives.

While LOHCs hold promise in advancing the hydrogen economy, addressing their current challenges and aligning them with global sustainability goals are key to their future success. Continued research and development, coupled with supportive policy frameworks, will be instrumental in overcoming these hurdles and realizing the full potential of LOHCs in various sectors.

Section 6: Technological Advancements in LOHCs

In this segment, we focus on the latest technological advancements in Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs), a field experiencing rapid innovation, driving us towards a more sustainable energy future.

Advancements in LOHC Materials

Recent studies have explored the potential of different LOHC materials, such as Methylcyclohexane (MCH), Dibenzyltoluene (DBT), N-ethylcarbazole (NEC), and Naphthalene (NAP). These materials have been investigated through simulations and analyses focusing on their physiochemical properties, techno-economic aspects, and heat network integration. Such comprehensive investigations are crucial for identifying the most efficient and economically viable LOHCs for various applications.

Biofuel Production

One exciting advancement in the use of LOHCs is their ability to generate in situ hydrogen, which can be directly used to produce biofuel precursors, fuels, or fuel additives. This development is especially important in the context of replacing fossil feedstocks and moving towards a carbon-neutral energy economy.

Novel Energy Systems

The integration of LOHC technology into novel energy systems represents a significant leap forward. These systems can store and transport hydrogen under standard temperature and pressure, chemically bound to a carrier. The development of these systems is a testament to the versatility and adaptability of LOHC technology in various energy applications.

Towards a Hydrogen Economy

The progress in LOHC technology supports the vision of a future hydrogen economy that operates without handling large amounts of elemental hydrogen. This approach simplifies the logistics and safety concerns associated with hydrogen transportation and storage, making LOHCs a key player in the transition to a hydrogen-based energy system.

The advancements in LOHC technology are paving the way for more efficient, sustainable, and safer methods of hydrogen storage and transportation. As we continue to explore and improve these technologies, LOHCs are set to play a pivotal role in the global shift towards a greener and more sustainable energy landscape.

Conclusion: The Role of LOHCs in Shaping the Future of Energy

Final Thoughts

As we wrap up this comprehensive exploration, presented by, of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs), it’s clear that this technology stands at the forefront of revolutionizing the hydrogen economy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Innovative Transport and Storage: LOHCs offer a groundbreaking approach to hydrogen transport and storage, leveraging their ability to store hydrogen in a liquid organic medium, thus simplifying logistics and increasing safety.

  2. Environmental Benefits: The use of LOHCs significantly reduces carbon emissions, enhances the integration of renewable energy sources, and improves air quality, contributing to environmental sustainability.

  3. Technological Advancements: Continuous innovations in LOHC materials and systems are addressing earlier challenges and opening up new applications, particularly in biofuel production and novel energy systems.

  4. Commercial Applications: From global hydrogen supply chains to specialized industrial uses, LOHCs demonstrate their versatility and efficiency in various sectors.

  5. Future Prospects: Despite certain challenges, the future of LOHCs is promising. Aligning with global sustainability goals and advancing research will be key to unlocking their full potential.

Moving Forward

The journey towards a sustainable energy future is complex and challenging, but technologies like LOHCs are pivotal in navigating this path. As we continue to innovate and implement these solutions, we edge closer to a world powered by clean, efficient, and sustainable energy.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the world of LOHCs. For more informative content on green hydrogen and sustainable energy solutions, stay connected with

Comprehensive References Summary

  1. Honeywell’s LOHC solution: [Honeywell Press Release](

  2. MIT’s powertrain modification: MIT News (

  3. General LOHC advancements: ACS Publications (

  4. High-efficiency LOHC research: ACS Publications ( )

  5. Safety risk assessment: ScienceDirect (

  6. Economic and environmental sustainability analysis: RSC Publishing ( )

  7. Study on different LOHC materials: ScienceDirect (

  8. LOHCs in biofuel production: Wiley Online Library (

  9. Novel energy systems using LOHC technology: RSC Publishing (

  10. Progress towards a hydrogen economy: ACS Publications (

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