Uniper Energy Storage has announced its most recent plan, to develop a solution for large-volume hydrogen storage in north-west Germany. The company has decided to do this through the development of salt caverns.
The company is looking to start this project through developing an underground storage facility that will have the capacity of holding between 250 to 600GWh of hydrogen by 2030. To begin this development, sites surrounding the area where this development will take place, such as lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, will be researched and investigated for their storage potential. The surrounding area which will be investigated are all sites that run along the 9,700km hydrogen core network.
Along with researching the potential for developing other sites for this project, Uniper’s current Hydrogen Pilot Cavern (HPC) in Krummhörn and HyStorage project in Bierwang, will also be especially useful to this new project. This will be because these projects and sites are already part of the Greener Gases strategy, which will therefore benefit Uniper to plan and prepare the best approach for their new commercial storage projects.
Uniper is expecting the Krummhörn project to deliver the results on this research by 2025 and then this will mean the site is ready for further commercial development. This development will create a storage capacity of 250GWh within the Krummhörn site which will then be available to the market by 2029. This storage development will receive a 200m euro investment, which will make the scale-up and therefore the new storage facility, possible. This development will then also be able to expand further in 2030, consequently further increasing the site’s storage capacity.
This is excellent and innovative and will be a huge help to the hydrogen and hydrogen storage industry and in order to make sure it is as effective as possible, Uniper has planned to conduct an in-depth market consultation. This consultation, which is already underway, will help the company predict what the demand for hydrogen storage capacities will be. The current plan is for this consultation to continue until the end of March 2024. This research and development will also build a picture of what the plan for more hydrogen storage sites should be, along with what the demand for hydrogen storage products will be.
On the other hand, it has been made clear that despite this extensive research, in order for the project to achieve the aim it has for its business model, the investments that the company has made into the development of these hydrogen storage facilities, will also require a lot of regulatory and funding framework.
This requirement was reiterated by Uniper’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Holger Kreetz, who mentioned that in order to achieve their storage plan aims, the company will require funding. Kreetz commented, “Whether and how the storage projects can be realised will depend largely on the framework conditions and economic viability. We have concrete proposals that ensure a balance between the necessary hedging of investment risks and a competitive market model on the one hand, and security of supply through storage on the other.”
Uniper Energy Storage’s Managing Director, Doug Waters, said, “We have a total of more than 80TWh of underground gas storage capacity for natural gas in Germany, Austria and the UK. This makes Uniper one of the largest storage operators in Europe. As part of the hydrogen ramp-up, we want to repurpose some of our storage capacities and build new storage facilities. This will enable us to store renewable energy in the form of hydrogen for industries that are difficult to electrify and potentially later on for long duration energy storage, allowing for better management of volatile renewable energies.”