Sweden is building a gigantic underground tank to store green hydrogen

Despite its many shortcomings, hydrogen is gradually becoming an essential vector of the energy transition. The molecule is useful for decarbonizing heavy transport and industry, but also for storing energy. To do this, Sweden will store huge quantities of hydrogen in an underground tank.

Its low yield, it leaks easily, is extremely flammable, and is even believed to be a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Despite this, hydrogen has the wind in its sails. Without really understanding all the issues related to its production, use and mass storage, many countries rely on this molecule to succeed in their energy transition.

At the cost of huge energy losses, hydrogen can reduce or replace fossil fuels in heavy industry and transport.

It is also very versatile: extracted from fossil gas or synthesized from water and electricity, it can be turned in one direction or the other indefinitely. Hydrogen can be converted back into water and electricity and mixed with gas in pipelines.

Underground storage.

In Sweden, hydrogen should allow the steel industry decarbonizationwhich is extremely energy intensive.

Therefore, you will need large volumes of green hydrogen, which cannot be stored in simple aboveground tanks. For this reason, HYBRIT, the consortium formed by the iron producer SSAB, the mining company LKAB and the national energy company Vattenfall, dug an underground cavity to store it.

Located in Luleå, in northern Sweden, the center stores green hydrogen (from renewable resources) at 250 bars of pressure in a rock cavern lined with a watertight seal.

The pilot plant currently has a very small volume of 100 m³, which could be expanded between 100,000 and 120,000 m³.

Up to 100 GWh of stored energy.

The facility can store up to 100 GWh of electricity in the form of hydrogen gas. It’s a huge amount of energy.

100 GWh is 62 times the capacity of the largest battery in the world, that of Moss Landing, in the United States.

According to the energy company, this volume of hydrogen would provide 3-4 days of autonomy to a single pre-reduced iron ore production plant.

This material is essential for the production of low carbon steel in steel mills. The world’s first commercial carbonless steel parts came from Sweden.

HYBRIT began deliveries of this “green steel” in the fall of 2021.

More information: www.vattenfall.com

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