Hydrogen storage is the near future! – H2 initiatives at the Etzel site

Clean energy, securely stored underground

The H2 projects of STORAG ETZEL

Hydrogen (H2) is considered the energy carrier of the future because it makes renewable energy, e.g. electricity from wind or sun transformed to gas, storable over a longer periods of time. By the power-to-gas process electricity is used to split water into oxygen and combustible hydrogen by electrolysis. In this way, consumption can be decoupled from electricity generation.

At present, the production of "green" (i.e. Carbon dioxide-/CO2-free) H2 in Germany is still in its infancy, but after a long period of research and development, the market ramp-up of a hydrogen economy is imminent. This is promoted by the ambitious climate targets of the EU and Germany, which are to be achieved primarily through the upgrading of renewable energy sources and flanked by decarbonisation within the framework of the H2 strategies at regional, German and European level.

But: What do we do in times of overproduction, e.g. in the windy autumn or sunny summer months? Can the security of supply be maintained for weeks and months when there is too little renewable energy in the event of so-called "dark doldrums" (a time when solar/wind power generation is very low) in winter?

And: How and where do we store hydrogen or other green gases securely? 

This is precisely why underground storage is essential for the energy transition and storage in caverns is a great opportunity for the supply of green, C02-free energy.

With the H2CAST Etzel research project and a subsequent development project based on it, as well as participation in the "H2-Wegweiser Niedersachsen" project, among other things, the independent cavern operator STORAG ETZEL wants to advance the research and development of large-scale underground hydrogen storage and at the same time prove the suitability of the salt caverns in Etzel as large-volume hydrogen storage facilities.

Our goal is to make the Etzel caverns "H2-ready!".

Because we need storage facilities for the energy transition when H2 production and, if necessary, import do not match the demand.

The demand for hydrogen in Germany will increase successively until 2030

The demand for hydrogen in Germany will increase continuously with the market ramp-up of the H2 economy. The demand for this energy carrier – especially for green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen produced from renewable energies – will only be met from domestic production to a limited extent due to a lack of production capacities.

Therefore, as with fossil energies such as oil and gas, the Federal Republic of Germany and most EU states will be dependent on extensive imports. This dependence on imports will in turn be accompanied by an immense need for storage. This can be done through large-volume underground storage facilities as it is today for fossil fuels. But research and development is needed.   

Making the energy transition work.

We live the values of innovation, safety & responsibility and that is why we also rely on renewable energy sources for the further development of our storage.

Everything speaks in favor of Etzel as a future H2 storage site

Making energy transition work.

  • ​​​​​​​Leading independent cavern storage operator in NW-Europe for natural gas and crude oil
  • Caverns are suitable for H2 storage
  • Ideal geographic position
  • Connection to existing supra-regional gas pipeline grid
  • Permits in place for capacity extension on short notice
  • STORAG ETZEL has long-term planning security with an operating framework in place and aligned with the respective authorities 

Research project H2CAST Etzel

H2 CAVERN STORAGE TRANSITION Etzel: Preparing the Etzel cavern storage facility for use as an H2 storage hub

The project H2CAST Etzel (H2CAVERN STORAGE TRANSITION Etzel) is the focused on the adaptation and conversion of existing gas caverns and relevant above-ground facilities as part of the transition process to an H2 economy in Germany and Europe. The industrial scalability of the underground storage and surface facilities are unique at the Etzel cavern site. 

The Etzel pipeline and grid hub in particular offer a wide range of cooperation and funding opportunities for the development of an H2 economy in the Friesland / Ostfriesland / Wilhelmshaven region in northwest Germany.

Expansion opportunities are also offered by the integration of power generation through offshore wind energy, Etzel's cross-border pipeline connection to the Netherlands and the import of H2 by ship via an H2 terminal at the deep-water port in nearby Wilhelmshaven.

The H2CAST Etzel partners

Development project of STORAG ETZEL as a further possible step

Hydrogen storage for Northwest Europe

Once completed, "H2CAST Etzel" will pave the way for an even more ambitious development project by STORAG ETZEL as a second logical step for a sustainable site transformation and strategic positioning of the Etzel cavern facility for the coming European hydrogen economy.

The focus of this follow-up project is on the conversion and expansion of the existing cavern field, including above ground processing facilities and the pipeline infrastructure for the Northwest Europe region, among other things, in view of the growing storage demand for H2.

The goal is the regional development and establishment of an H2 cluster by connecting the Etzel storage facility and the Wilhelmhaven region with access to wind energy, an import terminal, H2 production and the industry to the planned initial hydrogen network in Northwest Europe, the so-called "European Hydrogen backbone".  

This pipeline development project is regarded as the basis project for a joint European hydrogen supply from Hamburg to Paris and encompasses four countries.

STORAG ETZEL will initially continue and focus on the research project "H2CAST Etzel" where we will work together at the regional level with industrial partners, the municipal bodies and business promoters to leverage synergies and further develop existing initiatives. STORAG ETZEL will also remain a preferred, reliable and technically leading provider for the new energy industry, including for large-volume storage of renewable energy sources.

What is the significance of our projects?

Etzel in its regional setting offers an outstanding framework for energy storage solutions – including hydrogen!

  • Utilization of existing infrastructure
  • Strategic location of the cavern field in Etzel
  • Scalability of H2 storage and secured expansion potential
  • Synergy options with regional energy and industry partners
  • Short response time for project realization of H2 storage
  • Public acceptance
  • Experts and skilled workers are available
  • Projects are realized in lower saxonyGermany!
  • Without the H2 projects in Etzel, there is no regional H2 cluster in the region!

Direct contact to STORAG ETZEL