Edinburgh-based energy storage specialists Gravitricity and global built environment consultancy Arup will collaborate to deliver a complete system design and commercial feasibility report for the novel idea, as well as identifying a potential site for their underground hydrogen store. The design will also include integration with gravity energy storage and inter-seasonal heat.
A future hydrogen economy
The award is part of phase 1 pf the BEIS Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 [HySupply 2] Competition which aims to support innovation in the supply of hydrogen, reducing the costs of supplying hydrogen, bringing new solutions to the market, and ensuring that the UK continues to develop world leading hydrogen technologies for a future hydrogen economy.
If successful, the project could be selected to enter Phase 2, where the partners would build a £multi-million scale demonstrator in the UK.
Commenting on the project, Gravitricity’s Hydrogen and Thermal Storage Lead, Sally Molyneux says: “If green hydrogen is to become a mass market fuel of the future – for example for providing heat to industry or powering heavy vehicles – then we need to find ways to store it safely and in large quantities close to where it is needed.
“Storing hydrogen in underground shafts is intrinsically safer and less obtrusive than above ground options and is a solution that does not require unique geology such as salt caverns. We believe Gravitricity’s innovation is a scalable storage method which is cost effective, extremely durable, and can be implemented everywhere.”
Gravitricity managing director Charlie Blair adds: “Our partnership with Arup creates a combined team with all of the expertise and experience required to build and deliver Gravitricity underground energy stores.
“In the past, our cities relied on huge gasometers to store the gas they required. In the future, our towns can look to purpose-built shafts to safely store the green hydrogen they will need.”
Mark Neller, Arup’s Energy Leader for the UK, India, Middle East and Africa, said: “Working with Gravitricity and BEIS on this innovative approach to hydrogen storage has the potential to play an important role in the future of the UK’s energy systems. This project will draw on Arup’s extensive skills and experience, as part of our wider efforts to help the UK meet its ambitious target of reaching net-zero by 2050.”
Hydrogen – the future superfuel?
UK Energy Minister Greg Hands confirmed the importance of supporting these projects that “will help to boost the development of hydrogen as the clean, affordable, homegrown superfuel of the future.”
Last summer Gravitricity successfully commissioned and operated a grid-connected 250kW demonstrator in Leith, Edinburgh, and now plan to build a full-scale project in a decommissioned mine shaft in mainland Europe.