Photo: Courtesy of Uniper

Uniper’s hydrogen pilot project receives funding decision

Germany’s energy company Uniper received the funding notification of €2.375 million ($2.433 mln) for its planned hydrogen pilot project at the Krummhoern natural gas storage site.

Uniper's hydrogen pilot project receives funding decision
Courtesy of Uniper

On 25 July, Lower Saxony’s environment minister Olaf Lies presented the funding notification of €2.375 million for Uniper’s planned hydrogen pilot project.

“The climate crisis and the war against Ukraine are forcing us to push ahead with the energy transition at top speed. It has long been clear that the energy transition cannot be achieved with electrons alone. Hydrogen will be a central element for the success of the energy transition. We need it to become independent of fossil fuels and to decarbonise our energy sector and industry. The advantage of hydrogen is that it can be stored. In order for it to develop this advantage, we need storage facilities, including caverns,” Lies said.

Doug Waters, managing director of Uniper Energy Storage, said: “With this pilot project, we are gathering the empirical data that we urgently need in a world without fossil fuels: namely, how we can realize the storage capability of green electricity in a CO2-free future.”

Storing electricity converted to hydrogen is vital for balancing supply and demand fluctuations in the future, according to Uniper. However, the existing storage facilities are designed for natural gas and would need to be converted to use hydrogen.

Uniper Energy Storage will test the construction and operation of a new salt cavern specifically built for hydrogen storage on a large scale and in a real-world environment at the natural gas storage facility in Krummhoern, Northern Germany. The site has not been used commercially since 2017.

For this purpose, a new pilot cavern will be sol-technically constructed using an existing well. During the trial operation, equipment and materials will be examined for hydrogen compatibility, and experience will be gained in the storage of exclusively green hydrogen in a salt cavern and its delivery and further use.

The storage facility will be one of the first of its kind and is scheduled to start operating by 2024.

Uniper will invest around €10 million ($10.241 mln) in the green future project with a storage volume of up to 250,000 cubic metres of hydrogen.

Complementing Uniper’s nearby Wilhelmshaven site with the Green Wilhelmshaven project, Krummhoern’s location near the windy North Sea and its energy connections to the gas and electricity grids make it an ideal energy location.

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The hydrogen pilot project KRUH2 of Open Grid Europe (OGE), which is also funded by the state of Lower Saxony, is located in the immediate vicinity of the company premises. Here, the focus is on how green hydrogen can be produced on-site using an electrolyser and stored in small quantities to meet a plant’s own demand for heat, mobility, and electricity.