Dutch pipeline operator stores hydrogen
Dutch gas transmission system opeator Gasunie has successfully injected hydrogen into the subsurface at the Zuidwending storage site, it said September 17. "Following further successful completion, Gasunie can continue with the development of storage in salt caverns, the first of which could be fully operational by 2026," it said.
Gasunie is planning to develop a national infrastructure for the transport of hydrogen, so that the hydrogen market can develop. Large-scale storage of hydrogen is essential in this respect in order to cope with the imbalance between supply and demand for energy. With the decommissioning of the Groningen field, associated pipelines will become available for hydrogen transport.
It said salt caverns are a "safe, efficient and reliable way to store large quantities of energy, also for a longer period of time." The Zuidwending site in the province of Groningen, which has so far stored natural gas, "offers unique conditions for preparing large-scale hydrogen storage for the envisaged development of the hydrogen market," it said.
During the demonstration project at the Zuidwending location, hydrogen was injected into a borehole to carry out research. The pressure was gradually increased to more than 200 bar. Materials and components required for gas storage were also assessed for their suitability for hydrogen storage. The current phase of work will take about four to six weeks. Further demonstrations and tests will follow from November to spring 2022. As usual, local residents will be informed about the activities in advance.
If the follow-up process is also successful, a final decision is expected next year to implement large-scale hydrogen storage in salt caverns at the Zuidwending site. The first salt cavern could be fully operational by 2026, with growth potential to four storage caverns by 2030. This would create a storage volume that matches the current Dutch ambition of realising 3-4 GW of green hydrogen from sustainable electricity by 2030.
However, Gasunie will have to make pre-investments. Among other things, the necessary infrastructure must be ready for an end situation with four salt caverns. Also, before a cavern can be used for storage, a large quantity of hydrogen is needed as 'cushion gas' to allow the technology to do its work. In both cases, these are costs that cannot be recovered immediately.
For more details on Gasunie's plans for hydrogen, please see a July interview with the company here.