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HyPE Hydrogen Storage in Subsurface Porous Media - Enabling Transition to Net-Zero Society

What we do

In order to meet the worlds increasing energy need in an environment friendly way we will need to assess energy storage. Subsurface hydrogen storage could be a viable option to extend the lifespan of energy supply from renewable sources. As there are barely any research projects done on the concept, it will require a dedicated study to assess coupled processes for subsurface hydrogen storage. The HyPE-project will focus on physical and microbial processes that determine subsurface working gas capacity, deliverability, and injection rates for hydrogen in porous media. In addition, there will be developed a fully coupled numerical simulator based on new laboratory data from hydrogen storage related experiments. NORCE and UiB researchers will apply cross-disciplinary expertise in flow physics, microbiology, and mathematics developed from decades of research in petroleum and CO2 storage.

Why is this important?

Available hydrogen storage capacity today is insufficient to balance supply and demand considering limited volume and high costs. However, saline aquifers and depleted natural gas reservoirs represent widely available large-scale capacity for storing and withdrawing energy. For Norway this could make it possible to operate with already existing infrastructure and facilities to produce clean energy.

Safe storage of hydrogen in porous geological formations faces some knowledge gaps that make it difficult to determine working gas capacity. Flow functions for hydrogen differ from natural gases and CO2 and subsurface storage of hydrogen is strongly affected by microbial activity. To increase our knowledge on these processes, the project will address hydrogen migration, leakage, trapping and activation of indigenous microbial metabolic groups. Through experiments and modelling, this work will contribute to mitigate the variability in the energy supply chain.

Goals

The main objective of the HyPE project is to obtain fundamental knowledge to assess the feasibility of using depleted reservoirs as storage sites for hydrogen. NORCE in collaboration with UiB will address this by assessing flow functions, trapping mechanisms and gas solubility in saline aquifers and depleted natural gas reservoirs for hydrogen. Hydrogen loss from microbial consumption will be mapped to increase the efficiency of subsurface hydrogen storage and withdrawal. We will develop a new fine-scale fully coupled numerical simulator based on new laboratory data to investigate the impact of flow functions and bio-geochemical reactions. The project will enable operators to implement large-scale hydrogen storage in porous media as a renewable energy storage technology.