Uniper to survey potential storage users on hydrogen storage in Germany

Eduardo Escajadillo

08-Feb-2024

  • Uniper aiming for 250-600GWh of hydrogen storage capacity by 2030
  • Non-binding consultation open from 7 February to end of March
  • INES, FNB Gas, Snam also launch hydrogen market surveys early February

LONDON (ICIS)–German energy utility Uniper has launched a comprehensive non-binding market consultation from potential users of its planned hydrogen storage facilities in Northwest Germany.

The consultation, which opened 7 February and will run until the end of March, will be used by Uniper “to ensure that we develop products based on demand” and “serve as a basis for the concrete expansion plans for hydrogen storage sites.”

Uniper aims to have between 260GWh and 600GWh of hydrogen storage capacity commercially operational by the end of 2030, with the first commercial hydrogen storage facility scheduled to be operational by the end of 2029.

The company plans to provide additional working gas storage capacities for hydrogen by developing a mixture of existing sites and new sites in both Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.

Uniper already has the HyStorage project in Beirwang where the first operational phase on blending hydrogen with gas has been completed with the results yet to be published, as well as the 100% hydrogen salt cavern Hydrogen Pilot Cavern in Krummhorn which is currently undergoing gas tightness tests, both of which will be used as a reference to commercialise hydrogen storage going forward.

Uniper’s chief operating officer, Holger Kreetz, said “investments in the development of hydrogen storage facilities require a regulatory and funding framework in order to achieve workable business models…the principles of contracts for difference (CfDs) should be applied to achieve these aims in a cost-efficient and effective manner.”

CfDs could be a regulatory mechanism used to manage the costs of storing hydrogen which are typically higher than those of natural gas, and a CfD based on gas storage costs for hydrogen storage could be one way of mitigating additional costs for participants.

RECENT SURVEYS

There have been several market consultation announcements recently surrounding hydrogen, an indication that the pace of development is picking up and that feedback on the development of infrastructure, regulation, and demand of hydrogen can be given.

Indeed, The Initiative Energien Speichern (INES) announced on 2 February that it would conduct a Market Assessment for Hydrogen Storage (MAHS) in Germany during the month of April, Italian gas TSO Snam launched a market test 7 February to measure hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) demand in Italy, and FNB Gas announced late January that a joint market survey for an integrated network plan for the energy system as a whole including hydrogen.

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