Framework for Enabling Large-Scale Hydrogen Storage in Underground Reservoirs

Results from a project focused on evaluating potential pathways for the implementation of large-scale underground hydrogen storage offer a deeper understanding of operational aspects such as geological characteristics, storage capacity, safety considerations, and infrastructure requirements to inform future decision-making processes regarding the implementation of a field pilot. As part of this project, GTI Energy asked for information regarding the opportunities and needs for underground hydrogen storage to develop the basis and criteria to design and execute field pilot tests of subsurface hydrogen storage in porous media formations.

The Framework for Enabling Large-Scale Hydrogen Storage in Underground Reservoirs project leveraged experience from previous underground natural gas and storage projects, and evaluated probable costs as well as potential process and contamination risks relevant to the most viable candidates to achieve adequate stored energy in an efficient, safe, and cost-effective manner.

While underground storage of natural gas is a mature technology that is deployed globally to provide energy security, there are only a few underground hydrogen storage facilities in the world serving limited geographic regions and specific industries with limited storage capacities provided by salt caverns. Globally, only 8% of the underground storage capacities are offered by salt caverns while 80% reside in porous rock formations. Thus, the geological storage of hydrogen in porous rock formations, including depleted oil and gas reservoirs, is the key to achieving large-scale and long-term storage capacities. However, key differences in natural gas and hydrogen storage, including volumetric energy density and potential in-situ geochemical reactions have led to greater underground storage challenges for hydrogen.

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