Thursday Throwback Spotlight: A World First, the Energy Storage of Hydrogen in Caverns

By August 20, 2020 4   min read  (627 words)

August 20, 2020 |

Caverns for Hydrogen Storage

In May 2019 we covered a story by the HYPOS research institute announcement of a world-first, two-year research project titled “H2 research cavern” with the aim of the project being the development and official approval for a research platform for hydrogen storage in a salt cavern.

HYPOS consortium launches a research platform for the storage of green hydrogen

As part of the research initiative HYPOS, a pilot project for the underground storage of hydrogen in Central Germany will start on May 1, 2019. The aim of the “H2 Research Cavern” project is the development and regulatory approval of a research platform for hydrogen storage in a salt cavern. 

The storage facility will be built at the end of the two-year research project at the operating site Bad Lauchstädt (Saxony-Anhalt) of the gas storage operator VNG Gasspeicher GmbH (VGS) and then transferred to the research operation. The plant would be the first hydrogen cavern storage facility in continental Europe and the world’s first underground storage facility storing green hydrogen from renewable sources.

Model region for hydrogen

The research cavern near Bad Lauchstädt is part of an overall concept to build a model region for hydrogen in the new federal states. At the heart of the concept is the supply of the model region with green hydrogen. This is to be obtained by means of power-to-gas technologies (large electrolysers) from renewable electrical energy. The aim of the gas infrastructure is to bring green hydrogen to customers in the chemical, mobility and urban energy sectors. “In addition, we can store green hydrogen from overcapacities of renewable electricity production in the cavern and, if necessary, use it again. So we get a seasonal large storage, which offers a unique opportunity in combination with power-to-gas, In order to avoid bottlenecks in the supply of fluctuating renewable energies and thus to ensure security of supply, “explains Stefan Bergander, Project and Innovation Manager at HYPOS e. V.

Accompanying project on the basics of hydrogen storage 

The HYPOS Accompanying Research Project “H2-UGS” has been running since September 2018, in which the basic research on hydrogen storage in caverns will be carried out. The project results are to be incorporated directly into the “H2 Research Cavern” project as a guideline for the construction of hydrogen underground gas storage facilities.

The project

In addition to the gas infrastructure operators VGS and ONTRAS, the research project “H2-Research Cavern” includes the DBI – Gastechnologisches Institut gGmbH Freiberg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS, the IfG Institute for Mountain Mechanics GmbH and Linde AG as associated partners involved the Terrawatt Planungsgesellschaft mbH. All project partners are members of the HYPOS consortium. HYPOS explores all aspects of the green hydrogen value chain in order to further increase the contribution of renewable hydrogen as a key energy source for the energy transition. The project is funded within the scope of the research initiative Zwanzig20 of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and has a total budget of approximately 1.3 million euros.

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