US contractor McDermott International has completed the design of a 40,000-cubic metre liquid hydrogen sphere as part of a study awarded earlier this year by an unnamed leading natural gas producer, claimed to be the largest such H2 storage facility in the pipeline.

The conceptual design for a double-wall liquid hydrogen sphere with storage capacity of 40,000 cubic metres is approximately eight times larger than the world's largest liquid hydrogen sphere under construction by McDermott’s CB&I Storage Solutions business for NASA.

"This study is just the beginning of achieving what's possible for liquid hydrogen storage," said Samik Mukherjee, McDermott chief operating officer.

"We believe our engineering expertise will make a real, tangible difference in realising the energy transition."

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In 1960, CB&I Storage Solutions built the first liquid hydrogen sphere with the capacity to store 170 cubic metres and since then it has expanded that threshold to 5000 cubic metres.

"Viable storage solutions play a critical role in supporting a large-scale hydrogen economy," said Cesar Canals, senior vice president, CB&I Storage Solutions.

"This study confirms the feasibility of scaling up liquid hydrogen solutions beyond what was previously thought possible and positions us to better serve our customers in this growing industry."

CB&I Storage Solutions, which today specialises in field-erected spherical cryogenic hydrogen storage, has completed almost 60,000 structures — storage facilities, tanks and terminals — during its 130-year history.