| Press Release

“HyPSTER”: realising the First EU-supported large scale Green Hydrogen Underground Storage Demonstrator

HyPSTER is the first EU supported project aiming for large scale green hydrogen underground storage in salt caverns. The demonstration facility will be realised in France. The project with a total budget of 13MEuro has been granted a 5-million-euro grant by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH 2 JU).
 
At the beginning of the year 2021, the project is launched with a subsurface and surface engineering study, which precedes the field-testing phase. This project will make it possible to better identify the position of storage in the hydrogen value chain. In the long term, this demonstrator aims to support the development of the hydrogen economy in Europe.
 
HyPSTER stands for Hydrogen Pilot STorage for large Ecosystem Replication
 
Storage: A critical facility in the green hydrogen sector
 
This demonstrator, the flagship of the development of green hydrogen underground storage in Europe, is fully in line with the objective of lowering the economy’s carbon intensity, as well as the EU recovery plan, and integrates a link in the Hydrogen value chain which hasn’t been tested yet: underground storage. Its aim is to test industrial-scale green hydrogen production and storage in salt caverns and the technical and economic reproducibility of the process to other sites throughout Europe.
HyPSTER marks another stage in energy transition for phasing out of fossil energy, in favour of renewable, carbon-free energy sources.
 
For the production of green hydrogen, the Etrez storage site will rely on local renewable energy sources (photovoltaic, hydroelectric) and a 1-MW electrolyser. In the long run, this facility will produce 400 kg of hydrogen per day (the equivalent of the consumption of 16 hydrogen buses*).
This production will enable to test the storage of 2 to 3 tons of green hydrogen during the first stage, before using the total capacity of the chosen salt cavern, amounting to 44 tons (the equivalent of the daily consumption of 1,760 hydrogen buses*).
 
Etrez: A site located ideally at the crossroads of production, storage and consumption
 
Located north-west of Bourg-en-Bresse, on the north-south European corridor, the Etrez storage site is the largest French natural gas storage site in salt caverns in terms of capacity.
 
The site area is particularly dynamic regarding the development of the use of green hydrogen with large-scale projects such as Zero Emission Valley (Project ZEV) in the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the construction of hydrogen production units and filling stations in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, and the Chemical Valley with the presence of many industrial players.
 
*One bus tank containing 25 kg of hydrogen
 
A closer look at hydrogen:
Hydrogen from renewable production has a prime position in energy transition.
It can be utilised for a variety of purposes:
- in the industry (chemical, electronic, glass, metal…), hydrogen can be used to produce different materials, but also for energy purposes (steam, for instance), and to lower the carbon intensity of the production chain;
- in transports and mobility, it replaces traditional fuels with the advantage of not generating any emissions while offering significant autonomy and very short refuelling time.
Thanks to green hydrogen, renewable energy sources can access hard to decarbonise sectors
 
The project stakeholders and their roles
 
  • Storengy (FR): Project coordinator for all partners, manages and operates the storage site and the salt cavern used for testing.
  • Armines-Ecole Polytechnique (FR): Different academic studies which are part of the HyPSTER project.
  • INOVYN (UK): Definition of the ideal salt cavern utilisation cycle (hydrogen input/output for consumption).
  • ESK (DE): Validation of engineering design and transfer of existing cycling models (from natural gas storage) for hydrogen storage.
  • Element Energy (UK): Validation of the techno-economic approach of the demonstrator and assessment of potential for replicability to other sites/countries.
  • Ineris (FR): Expertise in the demonstrator’s environmental risks. Analysis and the regulatory framework for a safe development of this industry in Europe.
  • Axelera (FR): Operational result monitoring and sharing with all partners and the scientific community. Communication, dissemination, strategic intelligence and networking with stakeholders, in order to facilitate the use and replication of HyPSTER’s solutions beyond the project.
 
The project timeline
 
  • 2020: Definition of the regulatory framework for the project. Reception of financing by the European Union (FCH-JU), signature of the consortium agreement by all partners
  • 2021: Start of the engineering studies.
  • 2022: Construction of the electrolysis unit for on-site green hydrogen production.
  • 2023: Experimentation of hydrogen storage in a salt cavern and hydrogen production.
 
This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 101006751. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.

About École Polytechnique

École Polytechnique, also known as L’X, is the leading French institution combining top-level research, academics, and innovation at the cutting-edge of science and technology. Its various undergraduate and graduate-level programs – Bachelor of Science, Ingénieur Polytechnicien (Master’s level program), Master’s, and PhD – are highly selective and promote a culture of excellence with a strong emphasis on science, anchored in humanist traditions. As a widely internationalized university, École Polytechnique offers a variety of international programs and attracts a growing number of foreign students and researchers from around the globe (currently 41% of students and 40% of faculty members).

École Polytechnique offers an exceptional education to prepare bright men and women to excel in top-level key positions and lead complex and innovative projects which meet the challenges of 21st century society, all while maintaining a keen sense of their civil and social responsibilities. With its 23 laboratories, 22 of which are joint research units with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the École Polytechnique Research Center explores the frontiers of interdisciplinary knowledge to provide major contributions to science, technology, and society. École Polytechnique is a founding member of Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

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