French gas grid operator Terega and Hydrogene de France have revealed their plans to make use of disused salt caverns to store hydrogen in.
Both of the companies have signed an agreement of understanding that they are to launch the first inital project in the salt caverns near Carresse Cassaber which is situated in the south west area of Nouvelle Aquitaine. The hydro storage plant is estimated to cost €13.5 million and it will have a capacity of 1.5 gigawatt hours.
The hydro plant is the pilot project which has been sized and quickly deployed and the companies said they will conduct an economic feasibility study later in the year. The study will take into consideration the social and economic impacts of the project.
Construction of the hydro plant is set to begin in 2022 with commercial operation taking place in 2024. Reports suggest that salt caverns have previously been used for propane storage by the energy giant Total.
The Julich Institute for Energy and Climate Research conducted a recent study which stated that the salt caverns offer an efficient and flexible option for hydrogen storage. The report concluded that there is the potential to store 84.8 PWh of storage within the salt caverns in Europe.
The majority of salt caverns in Europe are located in the North of the continent with Germany accounting for the largest share of the caverns.
The research states that the locations of the salt caverns near to the coast is beneficial because brine disposal is economical up to 50 km from the sea. The caverns for the pilot hydro project are situated about 48 km from the coast.