Financial support for Scottish hydrogen storage study
Geoscientists from the University of Edinburgh have received funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) for a £1.4mn research project to investigate the storage of hydrogen in the subsurface. The project, HyStorPor (Hydrogen Storage in Porous Media), is designed to increase understanding of the whole hydrogen storage system, from fundamental physical and chemical processes to social acceptability.
The large-scale generation and storage of hydrogen, generated from excess renewable energy or steam reformation of methane with carbon capture and storage (CCS), could replace methane for domestic heating, thereby reducing carbon emissions from one of the UK’s largest sources.
Hydrogen storage also offers the potential to balance the interseasonal mismatch between energy demand and supply – providing a means of energy storage – and is likely to play a substantial role in the UK’s energy transition.
The HyStorPor project outputs and ongoing dialogue will be coordinated by Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) at a new multidisciplinary information hub on hydrogen usage and storage, based at the University of Edinburgh. The research team, led by Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage at the University of Edinburgh, includes scientists from the University and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, with further support from researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and Imperial College London.
Over the next three years, the team will use state-of-the-art experimental facilities in Edinburgh to investigate how hydrogen reacts and moves in the subsurface, apply digital software to establish how to efficiently inject and subsequently recover hydrogen, and engage with the wider public to ensure that hydrogen storage develops in a way that is both technically feasible and socially acceptable.
The project is supported by an international advisory board, chaired by Dr Nigel Holmes of the Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association, with representatives from SGN, Equinor, the Environment Agency, Pale Blue Dot, Quintessa, Hydrenor, the European Marine Energy Centre and CGG.
Professor Haszeldine says: ‘On the pathway to cleaner air and in the fight against climate change, it is very likely that the UK will change heating in homes and industry from high-carbon methane gas to zero carbon hydrogen and ammonia. Storing hydrogen made in the summer for use in the winter is a very important part of that change. HyStorPor is the UK’s first project to investigate the basic science we need to make that storage work effectively.’
For more on hydrogen initiatives, see Petroleum Review’s September 2019 issue.