Germany

First underground hydrogen store takes shape

Work on hydrogen test cavern gets underway in Rüdersdorf

© EWE

Climate change is already in full swing, and it is this reality that makes innovative leaps forward in new technologies absolutely crucial. An important step toward creating a sustainable and environmentally responsible energy system is the development of a hydrogen economy. In the German municipality of Rüdersdorf, energy service provider EWE is currently building a cavern storage facility that will in future be capable of holding a large quantity of pure hydrogen that can then be called upon when required. The Hydrogen Cavern for Mobility project, or HyCAVmobil for short, is a collaboration between EWE and the German aerospace center DLR and sees the energy provider taking a leading role within Europe.

Transforming the energy system to meet European and German climate goals requires innovative leaps forward and appropriate action in order to translate technological advances into environmental progress. This is the reason why the European Commission and the German government have announced their intention to move rapidly into the development of a hydrogen economy. They share the understanding that necessary environmental progress can only be made if renewables-based gas, in other words hydrogen, plays a key role alongside electricity.

There is a general consensus that the green energy system of the future depends on the essential integrative properties of hydrogen. The gas is simple to store. It can be easily transported and imported over long distances. It’s both an energy carrier and a feedstock. And it has the ability to link up different sectors in the economy. Above all, hydrogen can overcome bottlenecks in the transmission of renewable power between northern and southern areas of Germany. This is possible through the conversion of electrical power into green gas which can then be delivered via existing pipelines to energy users in the south.

In addition, the interest in hydrogen is now growing among consumers and within the political sphere. Work is being carried out at speed to address legal issues, come up with a market design and devise a subsidy regime that will promote sector growth in the ramping-up phase. Specific projects are being drafted and some have already been rolled out.

Putting theory into practice

EWE is one such organization that already has its first hydrogen projects in the planning and implementation stages. The supplier, which is headquartered in the city of Oldenburg in Lower Saxony, is convinced that a hydrogen-based system is technically and economically feasible and is prepared to invest heavily in the hydrogen economy. For this to happen, regulatory conditions will need to be optimized. In order to encourage market build-out, an equitable funding regime must also be put in place that takes into account climate protection goals and pays due consideration to capital outlay as well as transitional running costs.

… Read more in the latest H2-International e-Journal, May 2021

Authors: Stefan Dohler, EWE Aktiengesellschaft; Dr. Michael Kröner, DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems in Oldenburg

Hydrogeit

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