The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a new project into examining the potential for storing hydrogen (H2) and its gas mixtures in salt caverns.

The ‘Salt Cavern Appraisal for Hydrogen and Gas Storage’ project builds on earlier ETI work, which demonstrated that storing H2 in salt caverns could provide a significant contribution to decarbonising the UK’s future electricity grid.

The previous ETI report, written last year, showed how a single H2 cavern could cater for the peak energy demands and fluctuations of an entire UK city. It also detailed how using these already-existing caves could reduce the investment needed for a new clean power station capacity.

This project will provide more detail on the suitability of individual caverns and the costs associated with using them, increasing the evidence base needed if they are to be developed further

The latest ETI project will examine the potential of three existing salt caverns in Cheshire, Teesside and East Yorkshire, which could be used to store H2 for power generation.

Paul Winstanley, ETI Project Manager, outlined, “The end goal of the project is to understand the challenges, opportunities and costs of creating and operating these stores. This project will provide more detail on the suitability of individual caverns and the costs associated with using them, increasing the evidence base needed if they are to be developed further.”

There are currently over 30 large salt caverns in use across the UK today, which are storing natural gas for the power and heating market.

The ETI is calling for partners for this project, with the request for proposals closing on 2nd June 2016.