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H2 initiatives in Etzel

Hydrogen storage

Clean energy, safely stored underground. That is a tangible future!

Hydrogen (H2) is regarded as the energy carrier of the future because it makes renewable energy, e.g. electricity from wind or sun, storable in gaseous form over a longer period of time. The electricity is then used to break down 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. CO-free) H2 in Germany is still in its infancy, but after a long period of development, the market ramp-up of a hydrogen economy is imminent. This is made possible by the ambitious climate targets of the EU and Germany, which are to be achieved primarily through the expansion of renewables and flanked by decarbonization 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 that has become a matter of course be maintained for weeks and months when there is too little renewable energy in the event of "dark lulls" in winter?

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

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.

Socon measurement hydrogen cavernReport from project partner SOCON: First measurements in hydrogen successfully carried out
Friedeburg-Etzel

Report from project partner SOCON: First measurements in hydrogen successfully carried out

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With the H2CAST Etzel research project and a 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.

Making the Etzel caverns "H2-ready!" is our goal.

Because the energy turnaround needs storage facilities when H2 production and, if necessary, import and market do not match.

Hydrogen demand in Germany will rise 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 generation capacities.

Therefore, as with fossil energies such as oil and gas, the Federal Republic of Germany and also most EU countries will be dependent on extensive imports.

This dependence on imports will in turn be accompanied by an immense need for storage.

As is already the case today, large-volume underground storage facilities will then be used as a "backup". But here, too, research and development is needed.   

Making 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 system.

Everything speaks in favor of Etzel as a future H2 site

Making energy transition work.
 

  • Etzel is leading cavern site in Northwest Europe for gas and oil
  • Caverns are fundamentally suitable for gaseous H2 storage
  • The Etzel site has an optimal geographical location
  • Connection to supra-regional gas pipelines is available; these can be converted to H2
  • Permits for short-term expansion of storage capacities are available
  • STORAG ETZEL has long-term planning security due to the new general operating plan 

Research project H2CAST Etzel

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

At H2CAST Etzel (H2 CAVERN STORAGE TRANSITION Etzel), the focus is specifically on the adaptation and rededication of existing gas caverns and relevant aboveground facilities as part of the transition process to an H2 economy in Germany and Europe. A particular feature here is the industrial scalability of the underground storage facilities and surface facilities at the Etzel cavern site. 

In this context, the Etzel pipeline and grid hub in particular offers a wide range of cooperation and funding opportunities for the development of an H2 economy in the Friesland / Ostfriesland / Wilhelmshaven region in northwestern Germany.

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

H2CAST Partners

  • STORAG ETZEL: Project coordinator, underground storage, well integrity, retrofit, mission statement development, public outreach.
  • DEEP.KBB: Condition assessments, engineering, test execution and evaluations
  • DLR: Overall system modeling, modes of operation, overall system energetic analysis.
  • HARTMANN Valves: H2 adapted bore protection, valve technology, material suitability and tightness tests, maintenance.
  • SOCON: Measurement technology and tests for the tightness of the caverns and equipment
  • TU Clausthal: Investigations and verifications of storage integrity and tightness of the salt rock, rock mechanics and stability, with multicyclic operation

Project as another possible step forward

Hydrogen storage for Northwest Europe

If successful, "H2CAST Etzel" would pave the way for an even more ambitious development project of 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 possible follow-up project is on the rededication and expansion of the existing cavern field including surface processing facilities and the pipeline infrastructure for the region of Northwest Europe in view of the growing storage demand for H2.

The goal is regional development and the establishment of an H2 cluster by connecting the Etzel storage facility and the Wilhelmhaven region (wind energy, import port, H2 generation, industry) to the planned hydrogen launch network in Northwest Europe, the so-called "European H2 Backbone".  

This connection project for large-volume H2 storage is considered the basic project of a common European hydrogen supply from Hamburg to Paris and includes four countries.

Initially, the "H2CAST Etzel" research project will be ambitiously continued. Therefore, we will cooperate on a regional level with industrial partners, local authorities and business developers 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 special about our projects?

Etzel and its regional environment offer excellent framework conditions:
 

  • The use and dedication of existing infrastructure
  • Economic benefit due to comparatively low necessary subsidies
  • Strategic location of the cavern field in Etzel
  • Synergy options with regional energy and industry partners
  • Scalability of H2 storage and secured expansion potential
  • Acceptance in the region, skilled workers available
  • Short reaction time for project realization of H2 storage
  • No regional H2 clustering in the region without the H2 projects in Etzel! 

What is special about our projects?

Etzel and its regional environment offer excellent framework conditions:
 

  • The use and dedication of existing infrastructure
  • Economic benefit due to comparatively low necessary subsidies
  • Strategic location of the cavern field in Etzel
  • Synergy options with regional energy and industry partners
  • Scalability of H2 storage and secured expansion potential
  • Acceptance in the region, skilled workers available
  • Short reaction time for project realization of H2 storage
  • No regional H2 clustering in the region without the H2 projects in Etzel! 

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