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UK: call for government to speed up storage program

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The Government is being urged to expedite its proposal for hydrogen storage business models by the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA).

The role of storage in establishing a hydrogen economy in the UK is a new paper that makes it obvious that although the implementation of support mechanisms for hydrogen production is going well, more attention must be paid to the distribution and storage infrastructure needed to supply hydrogen at scale.

The request comes in response to the Hydrogen Sector Development Action Plan, which was released last month and underlined the government’s desire to create fresh business plans for storage facilities by 2025.

The industry group is advocating for the objective to be advanced to at least 2023 because it feels it is not sufficiently ambitious and might discourage timely investment in clean energy storage, which is essential for the UK to take control of its clean energy security.

The research explains why large-scale storage is necessary for hydrogen to fulfill its crucial role in the UK’s decarbonization, including:

  • ensuring resilience and national energy security
  • Keeping hydrogen in storage while renewable power production is high and releasing it when it is low will help keep our clean energy system in balance.
  • reduce system costs by utilizing carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS)-enabled hydrogen production facilities to the fullest extent possible, allowing them to run continuously at a high load factor throughout the year.
  • to manage the energy supply to suit the varying daily and seasonal needs of business, power generating, and household heating
  • balancing energy supply to meet fluctuating electrical demand by offering a quick source of power
  • to make it possible to include hydrogen into the gas distribution system

Storage is crucial to maximizing the potential of hydrogen and is necessary for UK energy security, according to Prof. Joe Howe, head of the NWHA and executive director of the Thornton Research Institute at the University of Chester.

It will be crucial in balancing the generation of hydrogen from intermittent renewable sources and assisting in the management of the UK’s daily and seasonally variable heating demands.

“While progress is being made on creating the crucial business models for producing hydrogen, the government must also move forward with its policies for hydrogen storage,” he continued.

To encourage investment and make sure that these storage facilities, which obviously have a significant lead time, are prepared for when production ramps up, we are requesting that the 2025 deadline for hydrogen storage business models be moved ahead to 2023. The North West Hydrogen Alliance is prepared to cooperate with the administration to make this happen.

According to the analysis, 4TWh of underground storage will be needed in the UK to balance out the seasonal variance in hydrogen consumption per million homes.

In salt caverns or abandoned oil and gas reserves, hydrogen can be kept underground.

As part of the HyNet North West project, plans are being made by chemical behemoth INEOS to store hydrogen in Cheshire salt caverns.

In order to ensure that stored hydrogen can reach its ultimate consumers, the research also recommends that the infrastructure for hydrogen storage and transportation be created concurrently.

With the goal of doubling hydrogen production from 5GW to 10GW by 2030, the Energy Security Bill, which was tabled to Parliament earlier this month, recognized the importance of hydrogen in the UK’s decarbonization process.

In the North West, the hydrogen economy is already progressing significantly.

The region is home to the hydrogen and carbon capture project HyNet North West, which by significantly repurposing existing onshore and offshore assets, will produce some of the lowest cost CO 2 transit and storage infrastructure in the UK.

The project can meet about 40% of the new national target for low carbon hydrogen generation set by the government for 2030. HyNet North West intends to begin operations in 2025 and will be able to make use of the existing technological talent base in the region in engineering, the manufacture of chemicals, refining, and offshore oil and gas.

A number of initiatives in the North West to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industry were given the go-light by the government last week.

As part of the HyNet decarbonization cluster, six HyNet projects, including Vertex Hydrogen, Hanson’s Padeswood Cement Plant, Viridor’s Runcorn Energy Recovery Facility, Covanta’s Protos Energy Recovery Facility, Essar’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex, and Buxton Lime Net Zero, have been given the go-ahead to start reducing CO2 emissions from the industry as of the middle of the 2020s.

The announcement comes after the government chose HyNet in October 2021 to hasten the decarbonization of the industrial cluster across North West England and North Wales.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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