France: HDF and Teréga Join Forces in Storage of Green Hydrogen and Launch the HyGéo Project

By July 24, 2020 5   min read  (890 words)

July 24, 2020 |

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HDF and Teréga sign an agreement to develop massive hydrogen storage solutions in salt caverns for multiple applications.

Hydrogène de France (HDF) and Teréga have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and propose solutions for geological energy storage in salt caverns. Within the framework of this MoU, HDF and Teréga launched the HyGéo pilot project, an innovative project of national and European scope that initiates the deployment of a new hydrogen-based mass energy storage system.

Underground storage of green hydrogen – a new alternative and a logistical opportunity

Massive energy storage, allowing a strong integration of intermittent renewable energies in the electricity mix, is one of the components of the energy transition. It requires the availability of large volumes that can be provided by underground resources.

Storage of hydrogen in salt caverns is also an opportunity for hydrogen networks as part of large-scale distribution logistics. It is part of the strategy to develop the hydrogen sector, which is at the heart of European economic recovery programs.

The Multiannual Energy Programme (MEP), published in April 2020, encourages players to study the benefits of reusing salt cavities for hydrogen storage. The HyGéo project is fully in line with this EPP incentive.

Through a pilot installation, HyGéo aims to study the underground storage of energy via so-called “green” hydrogen, obtained by electrolysis of water, therefore without greenhouse gas emissions. This non-polluting hydrogen will be stored in an abandoned geological cavity previously used to store hydrocarbons. Thanks to high-power fuel cells supplied by HDF, the stored hydrogen will produce electricity.

The first step of the HyGéo project is to carry out a feasibility study to characterize the site, validate the capacity of this cavity to store hydrogen and the economic relevance of such storage. This study will integrate the environmental, societal and operational aspects implied by the new uses of hydrogen: Power to Power, Power to Mobility, Power to Industry and Power to Gas.

To carry out this first phase, which has been approved by the Avenia Cluster, the only French competitive cluster in the field of underground energy, HDF and Teréga have called on the Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières (BRGM), the national geological service, for its expertise in underground energy. It will contribute its skills to draw up a synthesis of geological knowledge and the potential impact on the subsoil in the chosen area.

HyGéo launches a new regional and national industrial sector

An operational and concrete project, HyGéo is a pilot that has been sized for rapid deployment. The first phase starts in 2020 with the techno-economic feasibility study. Engineering and construction studies will begin in 2022 for operation in 2024.

Built on a former salt cavern in the commune of Carresse-Cassaber (64) in the New Aquitaine Region, HyGéo will store approximately 1.5 GWh of energy, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of 400 households.

The total budget for the realization of this pilot site is estimated at 13.5 million euros. In addition to launching a new decisive sector in the context of the energy transition, HyGéo will also have positive impacts in terms of :

● socio-economic, with the creation of 20 direct jobs, and between 20 and 30 indirect jobs thanks to the exploitation of the cavity,
● of territorial and sector development, with the promotion of the geosciences and hydrogen skills present in New Aquitaine,
● environmental, with nearly 73,000 tonnes of CO2 avoided per year.

The New Aquitaine Regional Council is supporting this project, with a €464,248 grant for the first phase of the project, paid to HDF, the project coordinator.

“HyGéo, is an innovative project that brings to the forefront territorial expertise in the service of alternative solutions to fossil fuels. The prospects are very promising. We are proud to be able to support our local resources and to accompany the deployment of a new hydrogen storage system to meet the new environmental challenges we are facing. ”
Alain Rousset – President of the Conseil régional de Nouvelle-Aquitaine (New Aquitaine Regional Council)

HyGéo is a unique opportunity to develop French hybrid know-how between geosciences and energy. It is intended to be the starting point for a wider deployment of green hydrogen solutions, mobilizing regional companies to move towards energy autonomy for New Aquitaine. This deployment is a viable and realistic solution for achieving ambitious regional, national and European energy transition objectives.

“After having launched several concrete projects in the overseas territories and internationally, we are very pleased to continue our deployment in our region. With Teréga, we have a partnership based on our complementarities and the desire to be operational quickly. It’s great to pave the way for renewable energy storage on a very large scale!”
Damien Havard Chairman & CEO of HDF

“As an energy accelerator in the territories, it is our duty to work, in line with our skills in gas transport and storage, to design new innovative solutions that will build the energy models of tomorrow. HyGéo is a perfect illustration of this. So it seemed obvious to us to take part in this project. We are convinced that the deployment of a new hydrogen industry in France will actively contribute to the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Dominique Mockly, Chairman & CEO of Teréga


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