Hydrogen balloon transportation: A cheap and efficient mode to transport hydrogen

Julian David Hunt*, Behnam Zakeri, Andreas Nascimento, Marcos Aurélio Vasconcelos de Freitas, Felipe do Carmo Amorim, Fei Guo, Geert Jan Witkamp, Bas van Ruijven, Yoshihide Wada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The chances of a global hydrogen economy becoming a reality have increased significantly since the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and for net zero carbon emissions. However, intercontinental hydrogen transport is still a major issue. This study suggests transporting hydrogen as a gas at atmospheric pressure in balloons using the natural flow of wind to carry the balloon to its destination. We investigate the average wind speeds, atmospheric pressure, and temperature at different altitudes for this purpose. The ideal altitudes to transport hydrogen with balloons are 10 km or lower, and hydrogen pressures in the balloon vary from 0.25 to 1 bar. Transporting hydrogen from North America to Europe at a maximum 4 km altitude would take around 4.8 days on average. Hydrogen balloon transportation cost is estimated at 0.08 USD/kg of hydrogen, which is around 12 times smaller than the cost of transporting liquified hydrogen from the USA to Europe. Due to its reduced energy consumption and capital cost, in some locations, hydrogen balloon transportation might be a viable option for shipping hydrogen compared to liquefied hydrogen and other transport technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-884
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
StatePublished - Jan 31 2024


  • Airships
  • Balloons
  • Hydrogen
  • Hydrogen economy
  • Wind power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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