Aberdeen University is working on a project where hydrogen could be “banked” in depleted oil and gas reservoirs in the UK North Sea.
The technology would see green hydrogen stored offshore, as huge offshore wind farms are planned for Scotland’s coast.
It means electricity from those wind farms could be stored as hydrogen when production is too high.
That in turn would avoid the need for constraint payments – made to developers by the government to stop production it is too high in order to ease the burden on the grid.
Dr Prashant Jadhawar from Aberdeen University’s School of Engineering is leading the hydrogen storage project, who said it could be a “game-changer” in helping Scotland meet its target of 5GW of green and low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030.
“This target relies on there being sufficient hydrogen storage capacity which only subsurface geological formations such as depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs or aquifers can deliver on such a large TeraWatt (TWh) scale,” he explained.
“Through our current research we have estimated up to a 20 TWh hydrogen storage capacity, as well as the permanent sequestration of 50 million tons (Mton) of CO2 in a single UKCS reservoir investigated so far.
“By offering the safe and effective storage of bulk quantities of hydrogen and CO2, our project offers a unique opportunity to help Scotland meet its hydrogen production targets as well as offering the potential for Scotland to become a net exporter of hydrogen.
It comes as the oil and gas regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) was today announced as regulator for offshore hydrogen production.
Last week the Net Zero Technology Centre also issued a scoping report for a £2bn hydrogen pipeline from Scotland to Europe, making the country a major exporter to the EU.
The Aberdeen Uni work is supported by the NZTC – and by extension Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise.
Several North Sea operators, along with Scottish Gas Network Plc, BatiGea, UK Elixir consultants, and Flow Expertise are also supporting the work.
Dr Jadhawar will present his research at the Offshore Europe conference taking place this week in Aberdeen, where he is presenting at the conference’s Technical Session on Hydrogen Challenges taking place tomorrow (Thursday, 7 September) from 10am. He will then give a further talk on the University of Aberdeen’s stand (2E68) at 1pm.