Hydrogen Storage in Porous Media
An increasing reliance on intermittent renewable electricity sources has made it difficult to balance supply with demand. This is likely to become more challenging as the proportion of renewables in our energy system increases. One solution is the large-scale geological storage of energy in the form of hydrogen.
Electricity generated from stored hydrogen can balance summer-to-winter seasonal energy demands, with the added potential for hydrogen to repurpose the gas grid and replace methane for heating. This is significant as heating our buildings – both domestic and commercial – is currently the largest source of carbon emissions in the UK, exceeding those for electricity generation. However, the underground storage of hydrogen in porous rocks has not yet been demonstrated commercially.
The HyStorPor project is addressing the questions that require answers before commercial trials can begin. Through state-of-the-art laboratory experiments, HyStorPor explores the geological underground storage of hydrogen in geographically-widespread porous rocks. Through empirical research, the project also evaluates societal understanding and acceptance of geological storage of hydrogen.
Role of SAMS on project
SAMS leads Work Package 4, on societal understanding and acceptance of geological storage of hydrogen.
Previous research on analogous technologies has shown that a lack of support from opinion-shapers such as non-governmental organisations, industry bodies and trade unions can prevent the deployment of otherwise viable low-carbon energy options. SAMS’ work in HyStorPor therefore aims to assess the social landscape around the utilization of subsea and coastal geology for geological storage of hydrogen, focusing mainly on Scotland.
This work involves two strands:
a) analysis of news articles relating to hydrogen and its role in Scotland’s energy transition; and
b) engagement with opinion-shapers (e.g. NGOs, trade unions) and potential host communities to understand key opportunities and challenges for socially acceptable deployment of geological hydrogen storage.