Industry Highlight: “HyPSTER”, the First Green H2 Storage Demonstrator

By February 4, 2021 8   min read  (1563 words)

February 4, 2021 |

fuelcellsworks, Industry Highlight: “HyPSTER”, the First Green H2 Storage Demonstrator
  • Large-scale green H2 storage demonstrator supported by the European Union

HyPSTER is the first underground green hydrogen storage project in a salt cavity supported by the European Union. The demonstrator will be set up in France (in Ain). The project with a total budget of 13 million euros has just obtained a subsidy from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH 2 JU) of 5 million euros.

At the start of 2021, the project is starting with a basement and surface engineering study which precedes an experimentation phase in real conditions. This project will make it possible to better identify the place of storage in the hydrogen value chain. Ultimately, this demonstrator aims to support the development of the hydrogen economy in Europe.

HyPSTER stands for Hydrogen Pilot STorage for large Ecosystem Replication

Storage, a strategic link in the green hydrogen sector

An essential link in the development of underground green hydrogen storage in Europe , this demonstrator is fully in line with the economic decarbonisation trajectory and the European recovery plan, by integrating one of the links in the value chain of hydrogen still untested: storage. Its objective: to test the production and storage of green hydrogen in a salt cavity on an industrial scale and the techno-economic replicability of this process on other sites in Europe.

HyPSTER marks a new step towards an exit from fossil fuels in favor of carbon-free renewable energies.

For the production of green hydrogen, the Etrez site will rely on local renewable energies (photovoltaic, hydraulic) and a 1 MW electrolyser . Ultimately, the installation will allow the production of 400 kg of hydrogen per day (the equivalent of the consumption of 16 hydrogen buses *).

This production will make it possible to test the storage of green hydrogen at a level of 2 to 3 tonnes initially until the total capacity of the identified salt cavity is used, i.e. 44 tonnes (the equivalent of the daily consumption of 1,760 hydrogen buses *).

Be, a site ideally located at the crossroads of production, storage and uses

The Etrez storage site, located north-west of Bourg-en-Bresse (01) on the European North-South corridor, is the leading French site for the storage of natural gas in salt caverns in terms of capacity.

The area where the site is located is particularly dynamic for the development of the uses of green hydrogen thanks to large-scale projects such as the Zero Emission Valley (ZEV Project) in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the construction of hydrogen production units and distribution stations in the Burgundy Franche Comté region or the chemical valley with the presence of many manufacturers.

* filling a bus corresponding to 25 kg of hydrogen

Focus on hydrogen:

Hydrogen from a renewable production chain has a key place in the energy transition.

It can serve different uses:

– in industry (chemicals, electronics, glass, metallurgy, etc.), this hydrogen can be used to produce different materials, but also for energy uses (steam for example), and thus decarbonize the production chain  ;

– for transport and mobility, it replaces traditional fuels while having the advantage of generating no emissions, of having a long range and a very short refueling time.

Thanks to green hydrogen, renewable energy sources can now benefit sectors that are difficult to decarbonise.

The actors of the project and their role

  • Storengy (FR)  : Project coordinator for all the partners, manager and operator of the storage site and the salt cavity used for the tests.
  • Armines-École polytechnique (FR): This association will participate in various studies within the framework of the HyPSTER project.
  • INOVYN UK)  : Definition of the optimal cycle to be carried out for the use of the saline cavity (hydrogen inlets / outlets for its consumption).
  • ESK (DE)  : validation of the compatibility of infrastructure and models cycl age existing (natural gas) with the storage of hydrogen.
  • Element Energy (UK)  : V ALIDATION of the approach techni co economic demonstrator for its replicability in other countries.
  • Ineris (FR)  : Management of the environmental risks and impacts of the demonstrator. Assessment / definition of a regulatory framework for the development of this industry in Europe.
  • Axelera (FR)  : Monitoring of operating results to then share them with all partners and with the scientific community. Communication, dissemination, strategic intelligence and networking with stakeholders, in order to facilitate the use and reproduction of HyPSTER solutions beyond the project.

The project schedule

  • 2020  : Definition of the regulatory framework for the project . Receipt of funding from the European Union (FCH-JU), signature of the consortium by all the partners.
  • 2021  : Start of engineering studies.
  • 2022  : Construction of the electrolysis unit for the production of green hydrogen on site.
  • 2023 : Experimentation with the storage of hydrogen in a salt cavity and the production of hydrogen.

About Storengy:

Storengy, an ENGIE subsidiary, is one of the world leaders in underground natural gas storage. With 60 years of experience, Storengy designs, develops and operates storage facilities, and offers its customers innovative products. The company has 21 natural gas storage sites, with a total capacity of 136 TWh in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Storengy is today positioned as a key player in the development of geothermal energy (production of heat or cold and production of electricity) and of innovative solutions for the production and storage of renewable gas (biomethane, hydrogen, synthetic methane ). In the hydrogen sector, Storengy is a member of France Hydrogen (formerly AFHYPAC) as well as of the Hydrogen Europe association.

About Armines-École polytechnique:

Armines is the first private French contract research structure . Under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, it is backed by 48 research centers, including the École Polytechnique, for which it is a unifying operator. École Polytechnique is the leading French institution combining research, education and innovation at the highest scientific and technological level. With its 23 laboratories, the École Polytechnique Research Center works at the frontiers of knowledge on major interdisciplinary scientific, technological and societal issues.


Created on 1 st July 2015 and part of INEOS, INOVYN is one of three world leaders vinyl manufacturing. With a turnover of more than 3.5 billion. euros, INOVYN has more than 4,300 employees with manufacturing, sales and marketing activities in ten European countries. INOVYN’s portfolio includes a wide range of cutting-edge products such as organic chlorine derivatives, chlor-alkali, general purpose vinyls, specialty vinyls, sulfur-related chemicals, salt and electrochemical technologies and vinyl. The annual production volume amounts to over 40 million tons.

About ESK:

An engineering company recognized for services related to storage and energy systems, ESK GmbH has successfully carried out national and international projects for many years. Its team of highly qualified engineers and geoscientists has extensive experience and know-how, particularly in the fields of storage technologies in aquifer and salt caverns. ESK employs a total of 80 people in Holzwickede and Freiberg, as well as in its offices in Leipzig and Stassfurt, Germany.

About Element Energy:

Element Energy is a consulting and engineering company active in the areas of carbon neutrality, sustainability and consumer behavior that provides strategic consulting, computer modeling, software and engineering for the construction, transportation and Energy. Element Energy has a decade of experience in hydrogen technologies as a consulting SME and contributes to this project its knowledge regarding the supply and demand of strategic hydrogen related analyzes, regarding a possible replication of saline cavity storage technologies and its experience in delivering hydrogen projects and managing R&D groups.

About Ineris:

Ineris (National Institute for the Industrial Environment and Risks) is a public research institute of an industrial and commercial nature, placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition. The institute carries out research activities on behalf of public authorities, industrial operators or communities in the field of assessment, prevention and control of risks related to industrial activities, particularly in underground environments. Over the years, Ineris has developed solid expertise in the field of environmental risk assessment related to underground storage activities. Ineris has large-scale laboratories for experiments and tests involving hydrogen. This expertise is based on both experimental skills (especially in situ),

About AXELERA Auvergne Rhône-Alpes  :

AXELERA is the benchmark for chemicals & environment sectors in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. It supports, in France and internationally, the development and innovation of the actors involved in the controlled management of environmental materials and resources, for the sustainable development of territories. The cluster is committed to developing a chemistry of solutions for industry and regions, eco-efficient competitive processes, technologies to preserve and restore natural resources, circular management of different materials, water, air, soil and energy. .

About FCHU-JU:

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is a unique public-private partnership that supports research, technological development and demonstration activities in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies because of their potential as an instrument to achieve a carbon-free energy system.

Fuel cells as an efficient conversion technology and hydrogen as a clean energy source have great potential for reducing CO 2 emissions , reducing dependence on hydrocarbons and contributing to economic growth. . The goal of FCH JU is to make these advantages accessible to Europeans through a concentrated effort from all sectors.

The three members of FCH JU are the European Commission, the fuel cell and hydrogen industries, represented by Hydrogen Europe, and the research community represented by Hydrogen Europe Research.

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