Green hydrogen and energy storage: 26 million kg Netherlands salt cavern and BESS-paired electrolyser in India

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Green hydrogen projects emphasising the role the technology could play in the energy storage space have progressed in the Netherlands and India, the latter using battery storage directly paired with an electrolyser unit.

Construction and engineering firm Bilfinger is supporting Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transport group Gasunie with a large green H2 storage project in Zuidwending, it revealed last week (16 August).

The HyStock project will store hydrogen produced from renewables-powered electrolysers in four underground salt caverns with space for a total of 26 million kg.

A press release said that the stored hydrogen would offset future imbalances in supply and demand of ‘green energy’ and, in a line further down, imbalances in supply and demand of ‘green hydrogen’.

This leaves open the question of whether it will experiment with converting the hydrogen back to electricity, a potential use case for renewably-generated hydrogen projects that is generally agreed to be far too inefficient to be cost-effective.

The main use case for green hydrogen projects in development today is as a feedstock for various industrial processes, followed by transportation and blending with natural gas for conventional gas power plants.

Bilfinger will deliver engineering for the entire plant, which is expected to be fully operational by 2026.

“Hydrogen is the most promising technology for the storage of renewable energy. We are
proud to contribute to Gasunie’s HyStock project with our expertise and experience,” said Thomas Schulz, Group CEO at Bilfinger.

Meanwhile, Indian engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has commissioned a smaller facility combining green hydrogen electrolysers, a solar PV array and a battery energy storage system (BESS) at its manufacturing facility in Hazira, Gujarat. The hydrogen will be blended into the natural gas used by the facility.

The project combines 380kW of alkaline electrolysers powered by a 990kW rooftop solar plant and a 500kWh BESS. An additional 420kW of electrolysers using PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) technology and an expansion of the solar plant to 1.6MW are part of future expansion plans.

A press release said the first phase of the project has been installed, tested, and commissioned and that green hydrogen is now being produced, as of 20 August.

These complexes are the latest in a steady stream of green hydrogen projects to have moved forward in the last few months.

Vanadium battery company Invinity Energy Systems energised one of its battery systems at a green hydrogen facility in Scotland last week, while another project using salt caverns for large-scale storage of the gas, in Germany, won EU funding a month earlier.

That came shortly after Utah project ACES Delta, which claims to be the largest green hydrogen storage project in the world, took another step forward with the selection of its automation software provider, Emerson.

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