SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have commenced building a rock cavern storage facility for fossil-free hydrogen gas on a pilot scale.
As part of the SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joint initiative HYBRIT, Hybrit Development AB is starting the construction of a hydrogen storage facility in Svartöberget to develop the technology for storage.
The project will be constructed next to HYBRIT’s pilot facility for direct reduction in Luleå, north of Sweden.
The investment cost of just over SEK 250m (€24.4m) is divided equally across the holding companies and the Swedish Energy Agency, which provides support via Industriklivet.
Fossil-free hydrogen, which will replace coal and coke, is a crucial part of the production technique for fossil-free iron and steel production, where emissions of carbon dioxide will be virtually eliminated.
Hydrogen storages are predicted to play a very important role in future power and energy balancing, and in large-scale hydrogen production.
The storage facility is expected to be ready and operational from 2022 until 2024.
Vattenfall head of strategy and HYBRIT chairman Andreas Regnell said: "We're really pleased that HYBRIT is continuing to lead the development of efficient production for fossil-free steel, as we're now also building a pilot storage facility for large-scale fossil-free hydrogen in Luleå.
"Storage provides the opportunity to vary demand for electricity and stabilise the energy system by producing hydrogen when there's a lot of electricity, for example in windy conditions, and to use stored hydrogen when the electricity system is under strain."
SSAB technical director Martin Pei added: "By developing a method for hydrogen storage and securing access to fossil-free electricity, we're creating a value chain all the way out to customers where everything is fossil-free – from the mine to the electricity and to the finished steel.
"This is unique."
The 100 cubic metre hydrogen storage is being built in an enclosed rock cavern approximately 30 metres below ground.
Building the storage facility underground provides opportunities to ensure the pressure required to store large amounts of energy in the form of hydrogen in a cost-effective way.
The technology used is adapted to Scandinavian bedrock conditions and will now be developed further to handle the storage of hydrogen.