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Mapping Geological Hydrogen Storage Capacity and Regional Heating Demands: An Applied UK Case Study


Hydrogen is considered as a low-carbon substitute for natural gas in the otherwise difficult to decarbonise domestic heating sector. This study presents for the first time, a globally applicable source to sink methodology and analysis that matches geological storage capacity with energy demand. As a case study, it is applied to the domestic heating system in the UK, with a focus on maintaining the existing gas distribution network. To balance the significant annual cyclicity in energy demand for heating, hydrogen could be stored in gas fields offshore and transported via offshore pipelines to the existing gas terminals into the gas network. The hydrogen energy storage demand in the UK is estimated to be ~77.9 terawatt-hour (TWh), which is approximately 25 % of the total energy from natural gas used for domestic heating. The total estimated storage capacity of the gas fields included in this study is 2,661.9 TWh. The study reveals that only a few offshore gas fields are required to store enough energy as hydrogen to balance the entire seasonal demand for UK domestic heating. It also demonstrates that as so few fields are required, hydrogen storage will not compete for the subsurface space required for other low-carbon subsurface applications, such as carbon storage or compressed air energy storage.

Countries: United Kingdom

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