Gravitricity, Arup secure grant to develop below-ground hydrogen storage

19th May 2022 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

Edinburgh-based energy storage specialist Gravitricity and global built environment consultancy Arup have secured £300 000 from the UK Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to study the feasibility of storing hydrogen in purpose-built underground shafts.

Gravitricity and Arup will collaborate to deliver a complete system design and commercial feasibility report for the idea, as well as identifying a potential site for their proposed underground hydrogen store. The design will also include integration with gravity energy storage and inter-seasonal heat.

The parties have been awarded £299 985 in Phase 1 of the BEIS Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 Competition, which aims to support innovation in the supply of hydrogen, reducing the costs of supplying hydrogen, bringing new solutions to the market, and ensuring that the UK continues to develop world-leading hydrogen technologies for a future hydrogen economy.

If successful, the project could be selected to enter Phase 2, where the partners would build a scale demonstrator in the UK.

This would involve sinking a purpose-built concrete-lined vertical underground shaft with a domed cap, to create a demonstration pressurised hydrogen storage vessel.

“If green hydrogen is to become a mass market fuel of the future – for example for providing heat to industry or powering heavy vehicles – then we need to find ways to store it safely and in large quantities close to where it is needed.

“Storing hydrogen in underground shafts is intrinsically safer and less obtrusive than above-ground options and is a solution that does not require unique geology such as salt caverns.

“We believe our innovation is a scalable storage method which is cost effective, extremely durable and can be implemented everywhere,” says Gravitricity hydrogen and thermal storage lead Sally Molyneux.

“Our partnership with Arup creates a combined team with all of the expertise and experience required to build and deliver Gravitricity underground energy stores.

“In the past, our cities relied on huge gasometers to store the gas they required. In the future, our towns can look to purpose-built shafts to safely store the green hydrogen they will need,” adds Gravitricity MD Charlie Blair.