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Gas reserves to store green hydrogen in NZ?

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Multiple subterranean gas reserves with the capacity to store green hydrogen have been discovered by the University of Canterbury.

The analysis, commissioned by Firstgas, identified seven subterranean oil and gas deposits in Taranaki, New Zealand, as viable candidates for storing huge amounts of sustainable energy.

According to Professor Andy Nicol, who led the study project, this conclusion is crucial since, in twenty years, hydrogen is expected to make up at least 10 percent of the worldwide energy system.

“We are optimistic that with additional research and technical trials, these depleted oil and gas resources in Taranaki will be suitable for storing 30 percent or more of New Zealand’s hydrogen demand,” said Nicol.

Currently, New Zealand stores its energy in hydro lakes, a coal stockpile in Huntly, and underground natural gas storage. Nonetheless, as New Zealand’s electricity consumption rises and the system shifts toward a greater amount of renewables, further storage will be required.

James Irvine, the general manager of Future Fuels and Firstgas, feels that large-scale energy storage is of the utmost importance for fulfilling the electricity demand, maintaining low costs, and encouraging the development of renewable energy.

“Storing energy in the form of hydrogen in depleted oil and gas reservoirs has the potential to be an existing infrastructure-based, low-cost energy storage solution. “Excess renewable electricity can be used to produce hydrogen, which can then be used as a clean fuel for transportation and heating, or converted back to electricity during periods of high demand,” added Irvine.

“The depleted gas resources in Taranaki are advantageously located close to a world-class offshore wind resource. Having large-scale energy storage in the North Island also provides vital resilience benefits to the continuous reliability of the electricity supply.

It means that hydrogen would not only be delivered to New Zealand customers, but also through the country’s current infrastructure, making it an efficient route for the country to meet its broader zero-emissions goals.

Firstgas is considering more testing in an effort to increase New Zealand’s capacity for large-scale hydrogen storage.

Nedim Husomanovic

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