Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), HDF and Teréga have launched HyGéo, an innovative national and European pilot project that initiates the deployment of a new hydrogen energy mass storage system.
Mass energy storage, which enables significant integration of intermittent renewable energies into the electricity mix, is one of the components of the energy transition.
It requires the availability of large volumes that can be provided by subsurface resources.
The storage of hydrogen in salt caverns is also an opportunity for networks dedicated to hydrogen in the context of large-scale distribution logistics.
It is part of the hydrogen sector development strategy at the heart of European economic recovery programmes.
Published in April 2020 by the French Government, the Multi-year Energy Programme (PPE) encourages stakeholders to study the benefits of the reuse of salt caverns for hydrogen storage. The HyGéo project is fully in line with this PPE incentive.
Through a pilot installation, HyGéo aims to study underground energy storage via so-called “green” hydrogen, obtained through water electrolysis and therefore with no greenhouse gas emissions.
This non-polluting hydrogen will be stored in an abandoned geological cavern previously used for the storage of hydrocarbons.
Thanks to high-power fuel cells supplied by HDF, the hydrogen stored will produce electricity.
The first stage of the HyGéo project is to carry out a feasibility study, in order to characterise the site, validate this cavern’s capacity to store hydrogen and assess the economic relevance of this type of storage.
This study will incorporate the environmental and societal aspects and operating procedures involved in new uses of hydrogen: Power to Power, Power to Mobility, Power to Industry and Power to Gas.
In order to successfully complete this first phase, which is certified by the Pole Avenia, the only French competitiveness cluster in the field of subsurface energy systems, HDF and Teréga called upon the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM or Geological and Mining Research Bureau in English), the national geological service, for its subsurface expertise.
It will contribute its skills to establish a summary of geological knowledge and the potential impact on the subsurface in the selected area.
The first phase of HyGéo begins in 2020 with the technical and economic feasibility study. Engineering and construction studies will begin in 2022 for operation in 2024 following feasibility study.
Built on the site of a former salt cavern in the town of Carresse-Cassaber (64) in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, HyGéo will store approximately 1.5 GWh of energy, which represents the equivalent of the annual consumption of 400 households.
The total budget for the realisation of this pilot site is estimated at €13.5m.
“HyGéo is an innovative project that showcases the expertise of regions in the service of alternative solutions to fossil fuels. The outlook is very promising,” said Alain Rousset, President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regional Council.
“We are proud to be able to sustain our local wealth and support the deployment of a new hydrogen storage system to address the new environmental challenges facing us.”