Consultancy Atkins has been chosen to carry out a new project to examine the potential for hydrogen energy storage in the UK for use in driving gas turbines when electricity demand is high.

Atkins has been hired by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), which is investing £170,000 ($208,000) in the six-month project.

The ETI last year published a report highlighting the potential role hydrogen storage could play in a clean, responsive power system.

The report focussed on hydrogen generation from fossil fuels, biomass or waste gasification or steam reforming of methane, all with carbon capture and storage. The report concluded that a single hydrogen storage cavern could cater for the peak energy demands and fluctuations of a whole city.

There are currently over 30 large salt caverns in use in the UK storing natural gas for the power and heating market. The ETI says many of these could potentially be re-used for hydrogen storage or new caverns could be built in the extensive salt fields which are deep underground many parts of the UK.

The ETI’s CCS strategy manager Den Gammer said: “We believe that storing and using hydrogen could be a low cost way of providing clean power for peak and load following demand. This project will provide more detail on the suitability of individual caverns and the costs associated with using them, increasing the evidence base needed if they are to be developed further.”

Marco Clemente, head of energy storage at Atkins, said: “Developing new forms of energy storage is vital to our energy infrastructure. Atkins has significant experience in the engineering and design of energy storage projects, and we are looking forward to working with the ETI on this exciting project.


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