Gasunie starts hydrogen storage demonstration project


At the Zuidwending site, Gasunie has successfully injected hydrogen into the subsurface.

This result is a crucial step forward in the development of hydrogen as a component of the future energy mix. Large-scale subsurface hydrogen storage is an essential component of this. Following additional successful completion, Gasunie will be able to move forward with the building of salt cavern storage, the first of which might be fully operational by 2026.

Hydrogen is a critical component of the future’s sustainable energy mix. Gasunie will build a nationwide infrastructure for hydrogen transport to connect supply and demand, allowing the hydrogen market to grow. In this regard, large-scale hydrogen storage is critical in order to deal with the energy supply-demand imbalance.

Underground hydrogen storage in salt caverns is a safe, efficient, and dependable technique to store significant amounts of energy over time. The Zuidwending site in the province of Groningen provides one-of-a-kind conditions for preparing large-scale hydrogen storage for the anticipated growth of the hydrogen market. Gasunie also has the essential knowledge and skills available through its subsidiary EnergyStock, as natural gas has been safely stored in the salt caverns of Zuidwending for over 10 years.

Hydrogen was injected into a borehole to conduct research during the demonstration project at the Zuidwending location. The pressure was eventually raised to almost 200 bar. Materials and components used in gas storage were evaluated for their applicability for hydrogen storage as well. The current round of work will last between four and six weeks. From November to the spring of 2022, there will be more demonstrations and tests. Local people will be informed about the events in advance, as is customary.

If the follow-up process is also successful, a final decision to build large-scale hydrogen storage in salt caverns at the Zuidwending site is likely next year. The first salt cavern might be completely operational by 2026, with the option for expansion to four storage caverns by 2030. This would result in a storage volume comparable to the present Dutch goal of producing 3 to 4 GigaWatts of green hydrogen from sustainable electricity by 2030. Gasunie, on the other hand, will have to make preliminary investments. The essential infrastructure, among other things, must be ready for a final situation with four salt caves. Furthermore, before a cavern can be used for storage, a substantial amount of hydrogen is required as ‘cushion gas’ to allow the technique to work. These are costs that cannot be recovered immediately in either circumstance.

Anela Dokso

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