German gas provider builds cavern for hydrogen storage


From pv magazine Germany

German gas provider EWE will start building a cavern for hydrogen storage in Rüdersdorf near Berlin in February 2021.

The 500-cubic-meter cavern, which will be built at a depth of around 1000 meters, will be used exclusively to store five to six tons of hydrogen.

EWE is cooperating with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the research project. “In the second half of 2022, we hope to find out, in particular, the degree of purity of the hydrogen after it has been withdrawn from the cavern,” explained EWE CEO Stefan Dohler. “This criterion is particularly important for the use of hydrogen in the mobility sector.”

The DLR Institute for Networked Energy Systems in Oldenburg will examine, among other things, the quality of the hydrogen during storage and after it has been extracted from the cavern.

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The findings from the research project can easily be transferred to caverns with 1,000 times the volume, said Paul Schneider, hydrogen expert at EWE. “The aim is to use caverns with a volume of 500,000 cubic meters — in which the Eiffel Tower would fit — for hydrogen storage,” explained the engineer.

The investment volume of the project, known as HyCAVmobil, is around €10 million, of which EWE is financing €4 million from its own funds.

EWE and DLR will receive the remaining sum from the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

EWE already operates caverns in Rüdersdorf that have been storing natural gas since 2007. Like all caverns that are created in underground salt rock, the test cavern cavity is created by rinsing the salt rock with fresh water.

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