Scientists from Edinburgh University have received funding for a £1.4 million research project to investigate the storage of hydrogen in the subsurface.
The project, Hydrogen Storage in Porous Media (HyStorPor), is designed to increase understanding of the whole hydrogen storage system, from fundamental physical and chemical processes to social acceptability.
Funds have been stumped up by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.
The large-scale generation and storage of hydrogen, generated from excess renewable energy or steam reformation of methane with carbon capture and storage (CCS), could replace methane for domestic heating, thereby reducing carbon emissions from one of the UK’s largest sources.
Hydrogen storage also offers the potential to balance the interseasonal mismatch between energy demand and supply – providing a means of energy storage – and is likely to play a substantial role in the UK’s energy transition.
This week, Aberdeen hosts its first Hydrogen Festival, an event aimed at helping companies, including the oil and gas sector, explore new business opportunities with hydrogen.
The HyStorPor project outputs and ongoing dialogue will be coordinated by Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) at a new multidisciplinary information hub on hydrogen usage and storage, based at Edinburgh University.
The research team is led by Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage at Edinburgh University.
Over the next three years, the team will investigate how hydrogen reacts and moves in the subsurface, apply digital software to establish how to efficiently inject and subsequently recover hydrogen, and engage with the wider public to ensure that hydrogen storage develops in a way that is both technically feasible and socially acceptable.
The project is supported by an international advisory board, chaired by Dr Nigel Holmes of the Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association, with representatives from SGN, Equinor, the Environment Agency, Pale Blue Dot, Quintessa, Hydrenor, the European Marine Energy Centre and CGG.
Prof Haszeldine said: “On the pathway to cleaner air and in the fight against climate change, it is very likely that the UK will change heating in homes and industry from high-carbon methane gas to zero-carbon hydrogen and ammonia. Storing hydrogen made in the summer for use in the winter is a very important part of that change. HyStorPor is the UK’s first project to investigate the basic science we need to make that storage work effectively.”