– Small molecule with a big future.

astora H2

Hydrogen: A flexible and easily transportable energy carrier.

Energy storage of the future

With the publication of the Hydrogen Strategy 2020, the German government has laid the foundation for the development of the hydrogen economy in Germany. This is necessary to achieve the ambitious goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2030.

Since not all sectors (such as the steel or cement industries) can be fully electrified, special attention is being paid to the use of CO2-free hydrogen. This can be produced using electricity from renewable energy sources by splitting water (electrolysis process).

The challenge here is that these renewable energy sources such as wind or photovoltaic plants are not constantly available and therefore do not continually produce electricity. This is where energy storage systems come into play, for example using hydrogen as an energy carrier to balance out the fluctuations between generation and consumption and thus make energy flexibly available. In contrast to electricity storage (in the form of batteries), underground storage facilities offer the possibility of storing large amounts of energy over longer periods of time without losses. From a technical point of view, cavern storage facilities are particularly well-suited for this purpose, as they can temporarily store energy in a highly flexible manner and release it again in a relatively short time when needed.

How is hydrogen produced?

Hydrogen can be produced by different processes. Depending on which one it is, a distinction is made between green, grey, blue or turquoise hydrogen.

"GREEN" hydrogen is referred to hydrogen produced from water (H20) by an electrolysis process using electricity from renewable energy sources.  

"GREY" hydrogen is produced from methane (CH4) on the basis of so-called steam reforming. This produces CO2 as a by-product, which is emitted into the atmosphere.

"BLUE" hydrogen is more environmentally friendly because the CO2 produced during generation can be captured and then stored in separate, suitable underground formations (CCS = Carbon Capture and Storage).

"TURQUOISE" hydrogen is produced by pyrolysis. In this process, methane is broken down under high temperatures (>1200°C). The by-product is solid carbon, which serves as a raw material for other industries.

Grid connection

In order to provide potential customers with access to an attractive storage location, astora is in talks with network operators whose pipelines are adjacent to the Jemgum storage location. Converting existing natural gas pipelines for the use of hydrogen, is the most efficient way to connect the storage facility.

Within the framework of the hydrogen production and demand survey (WEB) of the network operators, astora has provided an estimate of the quantity and temporal availability of possible hydrogen storage capacities. WEB is incorporated into the network development planning and is reflected in an indicative hydrogen grid.

All WEB reports from storage and network operators can be viewed here.

Robert Ritz

Project Manager Hydrogen