23 May 2023, 13:13
Carolina Kyllmann

German gas storage capacities insufficient for hydrogen plans – storage operator

dpa / ARD / Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s gas storage capacity is insufficient for the planned expansion of the use of hydrogen, according to gas storage network operator INES. Current gas storage facilities could provide a capacity of 32 terawatt hours (TWh), INES head Sebastian Bleschke told news agency dpa in an article published by public broadcaster ARD. But long-term scenarios by the economy ministry (BMWK) calculate that hydrogen storage facilities with a capacity of up to 74 TWh are needed by 2045 to implement the energy transition, meaning storage capacity would need to be more than doubled. “In view of the fact that we already have by far the largest gas storage capacities in the EU in Germany, both the reallocation and the construction of new storage facilities are a major challenge,” Bleschke said. “It is often forgotten that electrolysers for the production of hydrogen and hydrogen power plants will depend on hydrogen storage facilities,” he added, stressing that, so far, not a single commercial hydrogen storage facility is in operation in Germany.

Hydrogen made from renewable energy is set to play an important role in the decarbonisation of energy-intensive industry such as steel and during peak electricity demand hours (peak load times). The question of how much hydrogen is available, and at what time, will ultimately determine where it can be used. Moreover, hydrogen has different characteristics than natural gas, so determining how much of the existing infrastructure could be used in the future is important too. According to Germany's hydrogen strategy, the government will look at the entire value chain – including technologies, generation, storage, infrastructure and use – to ensure hydrogen is a ‘key element’ of the country’s decarbonisation strategy. The economy ministry aims to present plans for nationwide "hydrogen highways" by summer.

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