Vattenfall, Sweden-based steel company SSAB, and Swedish state-owned miner LKAB have started building a rock cavern storage facility for green hydrogen near Luleå, in northern Sweden.
The three companies will jointly invest SEK 250 million ($29 million) in the project, which has the support of the Swedish Energy Agency. The 100-cubic-meter “Hybrit” facility will be built approximately 30 meters below ground. It is expected to begin operations in 2022 and will reach full capacity in 2024.
The cavern is being built via the so-called lined rock cavern (LRC) approach, which involves covering the walls of the cavern with a selected material as a sealing layer.
“LKAB will need to become Sweden's and perhaps Europe’s biggest hydrogen producer in the future, and this pilot project provides additional valuable knowledge for the continued work in creating the world’s first fossil-free value chain for the iron and steel industry,” said Lars Ydreskog, director of strategic projects at LKAB.
A recent study by the Jülich Institute for Energy and Climate Research (IEK-3) showed that salt caverns offer a flexible, efficient option for hydrogen storage. The research group estimates that Europe has the technical potential to store 84.8 PWh of hydrogen in bedded salt deposits and salt domes.
The IEK-3 researchers said the proximity of the caverns to the coast will be helpful, as brine disposal remains economical up to 50 km from sea.
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