An Option for the Future – Hydrogen.

Project consortium HYPOS e. V. has shown how environmentally-friendly hydrogen can also be economical – from its production, transport and storage through to uses in the chemical industry for mobility and sources of energy. As part of the HYPOS roadmap study "Hydrogen Caverns", the technological and legal feasibility of natural gas storage cavern conversions was examined and proven to be fundamentally possible. The next steps to be taken include cooperative, accompanying research into concrete aspects of the storage of hydrogen in depleted salt caverns.


"Storage of Hydrogen in Salt Caverns – A Vision of the Future"




"H2 Research Cavern"  

As part of the HYPOS research initiative, a pilot project for the underground storage of hydrogen in Central Germany was launched on 1 May 2019.

The aim of the HYPOS project "H2 Research Cavern" is the development and official approval of the storage research platform (SFP) consisting of large electrolysis, storage facility (surface and underground) and the transport connection to the Central German hydrogen network. The focus of the project is on storage and transport. 

After a two-year project phase, the storage facility is to be erected at the Bad Lauchstädt site and put into research operation. This would make the facility the first hydrogen cavern storage facility in continental Europe and the first cavern storage facility worldwide to store green hydrogen from renewable energies. 



"Energiepark Bad Lauchstädt"  

With the "Energiepark Bad Lauchstädt", VNG Gasspeicher (VGS) has submitted a project outline for a so-called real laboratory to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and the project management agency Jülich. The BMWi supports one or more real laboratories over a period of five years with a total of 100 million euros annually. Initially, the focus will be on Power-to-X technologies. The call for entries for the 7th Energy Research Programme's "Reallabore der Energiewende" ideas competition ended on 5 April. A decision by the BMWi on which of the submitted project outlines are eligible for funding as a real laboratory is expected in the third quarter of 2019.

Together with ONTRAS Gastransport, DBI Freiberg, Terrawatt Planungsgesellschaft mbH and Uniper, VGS is planning the construction of a large electrolysis plant with a capacity of up to 40 MW in order to convert renewable electricity from a wind farm specially built for the project into green hydrogen. This hydrogen is to be temporarily stored in a salt cavern specially equipped for this purpose, fed into the Central German hydrogen network via a gas pipeline to be rededicated and ultimately made available to the local chemical industry, mobility and urban energy supply. The partners will make use of the natural gas and hydrogen infrastructure already available in Central Germany.

A special feature of the project is the large-scale storage of hydrogen. The planned underground salt cavern is to be specially equipped for the storage of up to 50 million m³ of hydrogen and would be the first hydrogen cavern in continental Europe. It would even be the first cavern in the world to store green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen produced with the help of renewable electricity.

The "Energiepark Bad Lauchstädt" project is also part of the major "GreenHydroChem - Mitteldeutsches Chemiedreieck" project, with which the activities of HYPOS e.V. are being further developed. Since 2013, the association has been bundling and coordinating the competencies of industry and science in relation to green hydrogen in Central Germany and beyond on a supra-regional basis.



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Kay Okon

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