Underground hydrogen storage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Underground hydrogen storage is the practice of hydrogen storage in caverns,[1][2] salt domes and depleted oil/gas fields.[3][4] Large quantities of gaseous hydrogen have been stored in caverns for many years.[5][failed verificationsee discussion][unreliable source?] The storage of large quantities of hydrogen underground in solution-mined salt domes,[6] aquifers,[7] excavated rock caverns, or mines can function as grid energy storage,[8] essential for the hydrogen economy.[9] By using a turboexpander the electricity needs for compressed storage on 200 bar amounts to 2.1% of the energy content.[10]

Chevron Phillips Clemens Terminal[edit]

The Chevron Phillips Clemens Terminal in Texas has stored hydrogen since the 1980s in a solution-mined salt cavern. The cavern roof is about 2,800 feet (850 m) underground. The cavern is a cylinder with a diameter of 160 feet (49 m), a height of 1,000 feet (300 m), and a usable hydrogen capacity of 1,066 million cubic feet (30.2×10^6 m3), or 2,520 metric tons (2,480 long tons; 2,780 short tons).[11]

Hydrogen Storage in Salt Caverns[edit]

Salt caverns are artificially created by injecting water from the surface into a well in the rock salt, where rock salt is a polycrystalline material made of NaCl, halite. Locations such as salt domes or bedded salt are usually picked for salt caverns’ creation. Salt caverns can reach a maximum depth of 2000 m and a maximum volume capacity of 1,000,000 m3. The frequency of injection and withdrawal cycles ranges between 10 and 12 cycles per year. And the leak rate is around 1%.[12][13]

Due to the physiochemical properties of the rock salt, salt caverns exhibit multiple advantages. Key characteristics are low water content, low porosity and permeability, and its chemical inertia towards hydrogen.[14] Permeability is a key parameter in underground hydrogen storage, which affects its ability to seal. Though studies have found dilatancy and extensional fracture can cause significant permeability increase, rock salt crystal’s recrystallization, which is a grain boundaries healing process, may contribute to its mechanical stiffness and permeability recovery.[15] Its plastic properties prevent the formation and spread of fractures and protect it from losing its tightness, which is particularly important for hydrogen storage.[14] Some of the disadvantages of salt caverns include lower storage capacity, large amount of water needed, and the effect of corrosion. Cushion gas is needed to avoid creep due to pressure drop when withdrawing gas from the reservoir. Though the need for cushion gas is relatively small, around 20%, the operational cost can still add up when working with a larger storage capacity. Cost is another big concern, where the cost of construction and operation are still high.[13][16]

Though people have experience with storing natural gas, storing hydrogen is a lot more complex. Factors such as hydrogen diffusivity in solids cause restrictions in salt cavern storage. Microbial activity is under extensive research worldwide because of its impact on hydrogen loss. As a result of methanogenic bacteria’s bacterial metabolism, carbon dioxide and hydrogen are consumed and methane is produced, which leads to the loss of hydrogen stored in the salt caverns.[17][16]


  • Sandia National Laboratories released in 2011 a life-cycle cost analysis framework for geologic storage of hydrogen.[18]
  • The European project Hyunder[19] indicated in 2013 that for the storage of wind and solar energy an additional 85 caverns are required as it cannot be covered by pumped-storage hydroelectricity and compressed air energy storage systems.[20]
  • ETI released in 2015 a report The role of hydrogen storage in a clean responsive power system noting that the UK has sufficient salt bed resources to provide tens of GWe.[21]
  • RAG Austria AG finished a hydrogen storage project in a depleted oil and gas field in Austria in 2017, and is conducting its second project "Underground Sun Conversion".[22]

A cavern sized 800 m tall and 50 m diameter can hold hydrogen equivalent to 150 GWh.[23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1979 - Underground hydrogen storage. Final report.
  2. ^ hydrogen storage cavern system
  3. ^ Hassanpouryouzband, Aliakbar; Joonaki, Edris; Edlmann, Katriona; Haszeldine, R. Stuart (2021). "Offshore Geological Storage of Hydrogen: Is This Our Best Option to Achieve Net-Zero?". ACS Energy Lett. 6 (6): 2181–2186. doi:10.1021/acsenergylett.1c00845. hdl:20.500.11820/4de280c0-20f2-40be-bdeb-31ef68929826. S2CID 236299486.
  4. ^ Energy storage 2012
  5. ^ 1994 - ECN abstract
  6. ^ 2006-Underground hydrogen storage in geological formations
  7. ^ Brookhaven National Lab -Final report
  8. ^ Large-scale hydrogen underground storage for securing future energy supplies Archived 2014-07-28 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ LINDBLOM U.E.; A conceptual design for compressed hydrogen storage in mined caverns
  10. ^ Energy technology analysis: Prospects for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (International Energy Agency 2005) p.70
  11. ^ ORNL-Pag.20 Archived 2008-12-06 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Tarkowski, Radoslaw (2019-05-01). "Underground hydrogen storage: Characteristics and prospects". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 105: 86–94. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2019.01.051. ISSN 1364-0321. S2CID 115848429.
  13. ^ a b Thiyagarajan, Sugan Raj; Emadi, Hossein; Hussain, Athar; Patange, Prathamesh; Watson, Marshall (2022-07-01). "A comprehensive review of the mechanisms and efficiency of underground hydrogen storage". Journal of Energy Storage. 51: 104490. doi:10.1016/j.est.2022.104490. ISSN 2352-152X. S2CID 247822881.
  14. ^ a b Małachowska, Aleksandra; Łukasik, Natalia; Mioduska, Joanna; Gębicki, Jacek (January 2022). "Hydrogen Storage in Geological Formations—The Potential of Salt Caverns". Energies. 15 (14): 5038. doi:10.3390/en15145038. ISSN 1996-1073.
  15. ^ Grgic, D.; Al Sahyouni, F.; Golfier, F.; Moumni, M.; Schoumacker, L. (2022-02-01). "Evolution of Gas Permeability of Rock Salt Under Different Loading Conditions and Implications on the Underground Hydrogen Storage in Salt Caverns". Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering. 55 (2): 691–714. doi:10.1007/s00603-021-02681-y. ISSN 1434-453X. S2CID 240290598.
  16. ^ a b Lankof, Leszek; Tarkowski, Radosław (2020-07-31). "Assessment of the potential for underground hydrogen storage in bedded salt formation". International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 45 (38): 19479–19492. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2020.05.024. ISSN 0360-3199. S2CID 225452215.
  17. ^ Panfilov, Mikhail (December 2010). "Underground Storage of Hydrogen: In Situ Self-Organisation and Methane Generation". Transport in Porous Media. 85 (3): 841–865. doi:10.1007/s11242-010-9595-7. ISSN 0169-3913. S2CID 121951492.
  18. ^ a life-cycle cost analysis framework for geologic storage of hydrogen
  19. ^ Hyunder
  20. ^ Storing renewable energy: Is hydrogen a viable solution?[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ The role of hydrogen storage in a clean responsive power system
  22. ^ "Underground Sun Storage - Publikationen - Presse/Publikationen". Archived from the original on 2019-04-16. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  23. ^ Hornyak, Tim (1 November 2020). "An $11 trillion global hydrogen energy boom is coming. Here's what could trigger it". CNBC. Archived from the original on 20 May 2021.
  24. ^ Cyran, Katarzyna (June 2020). "Insight into a Shape of Salt Storage Caverns". Archives of Mining Sciences. AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków. 65(2):363-398: 384. doi:10.24425/ams.2020.133198.

External links[edit]