Why storing large scale intermittent renewable energies with hydrogen?

Increasing production of fluctuating renewable energy intensifies the need for electricity storage to ensure network reliability and flexibility. While short term energy storage can be met by small decentralized storage systems, mid to long term electricity storage technologies are still lagging behind. Using hydrogen as a mean to store energy in the long run may in the future help address the challenge of grid balancing when large quantities of fluctuating renewable electricity are introduced in the energy mix. Although large scale underground gas storage is in general a relatively mature solution from an economic and technical perspective, hydrogen underground storage before becoming a potentially attractive solution still needs to be evaluated thoroughly from a technical, economic and societal standpoint.

Such evaluations should enable investors to understand potential economic returns; network operators and renewable energy producers to understand the technical attractiveness of such solutions and its integration in the overall energy system; technology developers to understand potentially addressable markets; and finally for policy makers and citizens to understand the benefits for the society as a whole, and how environmental risks are being evaluated and addressed.

The HyUnder project started in summer 2012 will address these issues in the next 24 months, paving the way to future demonstrations and deployment throughout Europe.