Work Package 1 examines whether hydrogen could react chemically with the rocks into which it is injected or the overlying seal rock; this could prevent the hydrogen from being recovered and used. To quantify these processes, controlled laboratory experiments with hydrogen injection into porous rock at subsurface temperatures and pressures will identify and quantify likely chemical reactions.
Work Package 2 assesses how effectively hydrogen migrates through water-filled porous media, and how much of the injected hydrogen can actually be recovered from the rock. Because the rock is made of solid grains with a network of pore spaces between, capillary forces naturally trap some of the hydrogen. How much is trapped affects the commercial viability of the whole process. Laboratory-based experimentation will inject hydrogen into rock samples to help answer this question. CT scanning provides live 3D images of hydrogen retention in the rock pores.
Work Package 3 uses digital computer models of fluid flow, adapted from hydrocarbon simulation, to scale up laboratory experiments to an underground storage site. Results from WP1 and WP2 will be used to calibrate the software, which will calculate how efficiently hydrogen can be injected and predict how much of the hydrogen can be recovered during operation. Volumes and types of cushion gas – to be left in the reservoir as a precaution to maintain operation pressure and minimise water encroachment during withdrawal periods – will also be assessed.
Societal familiarity with hydrogen may be much lower compared to natural gas. A key objective of the project, undertaken by Work Package 4, is to ascertain at an early stage how citizens and key opinion-shapers feel about hydrogen storage underground, and to engage civil society with the research and development process. This is to ensure that hydrogen storage develops in a way that is both technically feasible and socially acceptable.
Communication and outreach
Work Package 5 features communication and outreach activities considered essential for this type of project. Our web page provides information about the project and its results, including regular news and updates, and access to social media channels. Project partners will share findings via presentations made at academic and industry events. Public project reports and, ultimately, peer reviewed publications, will provide an open access record of project progress.