Storing large quantities of hydrogen is one of the critical aspects of integrating hydrogen into the energy matrix and developing a hydrogen economy. Given the proximity of the hydrogen plant to some depleted oil and gas reservoirs, the possibility of underground hydrogen storage in one of them is current under consideration as a pilot project.
This Pilot Project intends to test the reservoir’s capacity, tightness and behavior so as to acquire experience in hydrogen storage. A possible application is to use a mix of hydrogen and natural gas as fuel to feed equipment between 10 and 30 MW and supply electric power to the Wholesale Electricity Market at times of peak demand. The pilot test is devised in stages involving cycles of natural gas and hydrogen injection and production at different pressures and concentrations.
Hychico took part in the European Union HyUnder program, the purpose of which is to assess the potential of large scale underground hydrogen storage, the market for this activity, and its players. Through this involvement, it also participates in consortia formed by companies and top-notched international research centers working in the fields of materials, microbiology, and geosciences.
Hychico submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment Study and held a Public Hearing in coordination with the Ministry for Environmental Affairs and Sustainable Development Control of the Province of Chubut. The Study was approved in May 2014.
Methanogenesis is the biological production of Methane (CH4). Provided certain conditions are in place, it is generated by microorganisms using hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) for their metabolism. One potential use of underground stored hydrogen consists in tapping the microbial action present in reservoirs which, combined with carbon dioxide (either contained in or injected into the formation), may produce methane. Thus, the reservoir would act as a "natural chemical reactor" that might use the large volumes involved and the energy resulting from the natural geothermal gradient. Methane, the main element in natural gas, might be directly used as turbine fuel, NCG, and for heating, among other uses, with the natural gas infrastructure that is currently available.
Hychico started a pilot project to produce methane from hydrogen and carbon dioxide by underground controlled methanogenesis. The efforts include the site’s biological characterization, identification and optimization of both operational (injection rate, H2, CO2 mix composition, residence times, etc.) and reservoir parameters (temperature, physical and chemical properties of the formation water, etc.).
Its purpose is to model the behavior of the reservoir and have a “green methane” production feasibility study by mid 2018.
Hychico’s long-term goal is to provide future regional and international markets with “green” hydrogen, produced from Renewable Energies, and also with “green methane”, by using hydrogen as raw material and a sustainable source of carbon dioxide.
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