University of Aberdeen Researchers Develop Green Hydrogen Storage in Old Oil Reservoirs

By September 6, 2023 3   min read  (444 words)

September 6, 2023 |

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen Are Crafting a Revolutionary Technology That Banks Electricity as Green Hydrogen in Depleted Oil and Gas Reservoirs. This Is No Mere Lab Experiment; It’s an Audacious Step That Could Fundamentally Recalibrate Scotland’s Path to Net Zero and Beyond.

Under the leadership of Dr. Prashant Jadhawar from the University’s School of Engineering, the project is investigating a fresh approach to hydrogen storage, one that uses subsurface geological formations like depleted oil reservoirs and aquifers as large-scale hydrogen “banks”. This method has the potential to unleash up to 20 terawatt-hours (TWh) of hydrogen storage capacity.

“This technology could be a potential game-changer,” says Dr. Jadhawar. “It is a pivotal piece in the puzzle that could help Scotland meet its ambitious target of generating 5GW of green and low-carbon hydrogen by 2030.”

Beyond simply storing hydrogen, the team is exploring co-storage techniques, with carbon dioxide acting as a “cushion” gas in these geological chambers. This novel approach could not only store green hydrogen but also blue hydrogen and the associated carbon dioxide emissions on a mammoth scale.

Phase by Phase

The research is divided into two distinct phases. Phase one involves rigorous modeling, simulation, and lab experimentation to discern the most effective way to transport hydrogen through existing North Sea pipelines. Phase two pivots towards field trials and a pathway to commercialization, potentially culminating in the launch of a spin-out company.

An independent report recently highlighted the strain on the National Grid due to the upsurge in renewable energy projects. The Aberdeen initiative could provide a timely answer, enabling excess electricity to be converted and stored as green hydrogen, thus alleviating stress on the grid.

As Scotland navigates its green energy roadmap, this project presents a compelling narrative. It not only aims to turn Scotland into a net exporter of hydrogen but also aspires to breathe new life into depleted oil and gas reservoirs and their associated infrastructures.

Says Dr. Jadhawar, “By offering the safe and effective storage of bulk quantities of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, our project represents a unique opportunity for Scotland to meet its production targets and potentially become a net exporter of hydrogen.”

The research is financially backed by the Net Zero Technology Centre’s Net Zero R&D Programme and enjoys support from a consortium of industrial partners, underscoring its strategic importance in Scotland’s net-zero puzzle. Dr. Jadhawar will be unveiling more about this disruptive technology at the Offshore Europe conference in Aberdeen this week, further elucidating why this ‘hydrogen bank’ could be a cornerstone in Scotland’s net-zero ambitions.



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