ETI investigates potential of hydrogen storage technology

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a £300,000 project to investigate the economics and potential use of energy systems involving low carbon hydrogen production, storage and flexible turbine technology.

The five-month-long project will be led by global engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler, in collaboration with the British Geological Survey.

It will assess the economics of flexible power generation systems which involve the production of hydrogen from coal, biomass or natural gas, its intermediate storage and production of power in flexible turbines.

In addition, the project will map suitable hydrogen storage salt cavern sites in and around the UK. The sites – which tend to be located inland or up to 25 miles off the UK coastline – will need to be of sufficient size, depth, location and quality before they can be considered for hydrogen storage.

The ETI predicts that systems such as these could provide a very valuable contribution to the future energy mix, filling the gap between base load nuclear plant and renewable power generation. Such a system would also capture and store carbon dioxide which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

ETI Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) programme manager Andrew Green said: “ETI modelling shows that flexible power generation systems comprising hydrogen generation with CCS, intermediate hydrogen storage (particularly using salt caverns) and flexible turbines are potentially attractive components in any future UK energy system.

“This project is a first step in a long journey, which could ultimately see such systems as a key part of a future low carbon, flexible and affordable energy system. If successful, the benefits could potentially be huge.”

On Wednesday the ETI launched four projects worth more than £1m to help catalogue the technology infrastructure and identify the ICT as well as the value chains required to develop, design, test and demonstrate a first of a kind Smart Energy System for the UK.

Conor McGlone

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