Swedish consortium completes rock cavern for green hydrogen storage


Vattenfall, Swedish steelmaker SSAB, and Swedish state-owned miner LKAB have finished building a rock cavern storage facility for green hydrogen near Luleå, northern Sweden.

“The inauguration ceremony marks the start of the two-year test period, which will run until 2024,” the companies said in a joint statement. “Hydrogen gas and its storage are central to our transition.”

The SEK 200 million ($18.8 million) Hybrit pilot facility is owned in three equal parts by the three companies. It is expected to start storing green hydrogen later this year.

The 100-cubic-meter lined rock cavern (LRC) was built approximately 30 meters below ground via the so-called lined rock cavern (LRC) approach. Under LRC methods, the walls of caverns are covered with a sealing layer.

“At a later stage, a full-scale hydrogen gas storage facility measuring 100,000 to 120,000 cubic meters may be required, in which case it will be able to store up to 100 GWh of electricity converted to hydrogen gas, which is sufficient to supply a full-sized sponge iron factory for three to four days,” the companies said.

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“In four years, Hybrit technology will be used on a large scale in the first demonstration plant in Gällivare, and the plan is to then build more sponge iron factories,” said Lars Ydreskog, senior vice president of strategic projects for 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 Swedish coast will be helpful, as brine disposal remains economical up to 50 km from the sea.

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