CGG and University of Edinburgh Start Hydrogen Storage Research

(CGG, 16.Sep.2022) — CGG and the University of Edinburgh commenced an industry-leading project to undertake research into the subsurface storage of hydrogen in depleted gas fields.

Hydrogen can be generated from electrolysis using renewable energy sources (‘green hydrogen’) and can help to alleviate the intermittent nature of renewable energy such as solar and wind. Alternatively, ‘blue’ hydrogen can be generated from gas (methane). There is currently considerable interest in replacing traditional fossil fuels, like natural gas, with hydrogen in many industries, including energy and manufacturing and for domestic heating. However, hydrogen has a very low energy density, meaning huge volumes are required to replace methane, and making surface storage impractical. Subsurface hydrogen storage in depleted gas fields may offer a critical solution.

CGG and the GeoEnergy research group at the University of Edinburgh will model the heterogeneity of subsurface geological reservoirs to ascertain the most favourable potential sites for hydrogen storage and whether alternative cushion gases, such as CO2, can be used to reduce the operational storage and recovery costs of hydrogen. The value of this project lies in its aim to demonstrate the feasibility and operational characteristics of hydrogen storage in depleted gas fields. This could make low-carbon hydrogen energy storage feasible on a terawatt-hour scale, allowing intermittent renewable electricity to become a round-the-clock resource through ‘green’ hydrogen generation and use. The project results will be vital for the energy industry and regulators, enabling them to improve decisions on efficient hydrogen storage site selection and optimization strategies. 

CGG’s CCS & Energy Storage group has cooperated closely with the University of Edinburgh’s GeoEnergy research group over the last four years, acting as advisors to the UK Hydrogen Storage in Porous Media (HyStorPor) research project it is currently leading, as supervisors of MSc dissertation students, and as collaborators in various hydrogen storage research projects. 

Dave Priestley, VP, Energy Transition & Environment, CGG, said: “Our participation in this important research project will draw on CGG’s geoscience expertise and technology leadership and demonstrates our commitment to working with research partners such as the University of Edinburgh to develop the knowledge and solutions that will best support the energy transition. Specifically, we are keen to leverage our long-standing expertise in subsurface storage evaluation, reservoir modelling, engineering, instrumentation and monitoring to support the global effort to better understand the role that hydrogen can play in the future energy mix required to meet net-zero targets.”

Funding for the project was awarded as part of the Net Zero Technology Centre’s (NZTC) 2021 Call for Ideas, which saw investment in game-changing technologies to accelerate hydrogen production, transportation, storage and utilisation. The Call for Ideas formed part of the centre’s Net Zero R&D Programme, which helps companies accelerate their net zero technology developments through funded collaboration with Scottish Universities, colleges, and higher education institutes. The programme is backed by Scottish Funding Partners (Scottish Government, The Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise).

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