- Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony’s Environment Minister: “Uniper’s hydrogen pilot project is an important element of the energy transition in Germany”.
- Hydrogen storage to be tested on an industrial scale for the first time.
- The project aims to provide information across the entire value chain on how the gas can be stored and how equipment and materials react to hydrogen.
- Commissioning of the pilot plant with a storage volume of up to 250,000 cubic meters of hydrogen planned by 2024.
Lower Saxony’s Environment Minister Olaf Lies today presented the funding notification of €2.375 million for Uniper’s planned hydrogen pilot project at the Krummhoern natural gas storage site. On the occasion of the handover, he said: “The climate crisis and the war against Ukraine are forcing us to push ahead with the energy transition at top speed. It has long been clear that the energy transition cannot be achieved with electrons alone. Hydrogen will be a central element for the success of the energy transition. We need it to become independent of fossil fuels and to decarbonize our energy sector and industry. The advantage of hydrogen is that it can be stored. In order for it to develop this advantage, we need storage facilities, including caverns. I’m pleased that Uniper wants to use cavern storage for hydrogen here in Lower Saxony. We are happy to support this path. It’s in all our interests that we go forward quickly.”
Doug Waters, Managing Director of Uniper Energy Storage, said: “We are delighted about the funding commitment from the state of Lower Saxony. With this pilot project, we are gathering the empirical data that we urgently need in a world without fossil fuels: namely, how we can realize the storage capability of green electricity in a CO2-free future.”
Storing electricity converted to hydrogen is important for balancing supply and demand fluctuations in the future. But existing storage facilities are designed for natural gas and would need to be converted to use hydrogen.
Uniper Energy Storage will test the construction and operation of a new salt cavern specifically built for hydrogen storage on a large scale and in a real-world environment at the natural gas storage facility in Krummhoern, Northern Germany, which has not been used commercially since 2017. For this purpose, a new pilot cavern will be sol-technically constructed using an existing well. During the trial operation, equipment and materials will be examined for hydrogen compatibility, and experience will be gained in the storage of exclusively green hydrogen in a salt cavern and its delivery and further use.
The storage facility will be one of the first of its kind and is scheduled to start operating by 2024. Uniper will invest around €10 million in the green future project with a storage volume of up to 250,000 cubic meters of hydrogen.
Complementing Uniper’s nearby Wilhelmshaven site with the “Green Wilhelmshaven” project, Krummhoern’s geographic location near the windy North Sea and its decades-old energy connections to the gas and electricity grids make it an ideal energy location, strengthening the importance of the region and Lower Saxony as an energy hub in Central Europe.
The hydrogen pilot project “KRUH2” of Open Grid Europe GmbH (OGE), which is also funded by the state of Lower Saxony, is ideally located in the immediate vicinity on the company premises. Here, the focus is on how green hydrogen can be produced on site using an electrolyzer and stored in small quantities to meet a plant’s own demand for heat, mobility and electricity. Uniper and OGE have been working closely together for decades in a wide range of technical fields.
With decades of experience and a pioneering spirit, Uniper is driving forward the energy transition and enabling a secure energy supply in the future through the storage of natural gas, hydrogen and other green gases.
Photo: On behalf of Uniper Energy Storage, Frank Holschumacher (Procurist/Vice President Operational Performance Storages) (center) and Johann Westerbuhr (Head of Asset Group North) (right) accepted the funding notification from Lower Saxony’s Environment Minister Olaf Lies (left)
Uniper is a leading international energy company, has around 11,500 employees, and operates in more than 40 countries. The company plans for its power generation business in Europe to be carbon-neutral by 2035. Uniper’s roughly 33 GW of installed generation capacity make it one of the world‘s largest electricity producers. The company’s core activities include power generation in Europe and Russia as well as global energy trading and a broad gas portfolio, which makes Uniper one of Europe’s leading gas companies. In addition, Uniper is a reliable partner for communities, municipal utilities, and industrial enterprises for planning and implementing innovative, lower-carbon solutions on their decarbonization journey. Uniper is a hydrogen pioneer, is active worldwide along the entire hydrogen value chain, and is conducting projects to make hydrogen a mainstay of the energy supply.
The company is based in Düsseldorf and is one of Germany’s largest publicly listed energy supply companies. Together with its main shareholder Fortum, Uniper is also Europe’s third-largest producer of zero-carbon energy.
About Uniper Energy Storage
Within the Uniper Group, all competencies for underground gas storage throughout Europe are bundled in Uniper Energy Storage. Uniper Energy Storage operates natural gas storage facilities in Germany, Austria and the UK with a working gas capacity of over 7.5 billion cubic meters, thus making a decisive contribution to security of supply.