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Hydrogeochemical Modeling to Identify Potential Risks of Underground Hydrogen Storage in Depleted Gas Fields


Underground hydrogen storage is a potential way to balance seasonal fluctuations in energy production from renewable energies. The risks of hydrogen storage in depleted gas fields include the conversion of hydrogen to CH4(g) and H2S(g) due to microbial activity, gas–water–rock interactions in the reservoir and cap rock, which are connected with porosity changes, and the loss of aqueous hydrogen by diffusion through the cap rock brine. These risks lead to loss of hydrogen and thus to a loss of energy. A hydrogeochemical modeling approach is developed to analyze these risks and to understand the basic hydrogeochemical mechanisms of hydrogen storage over storage times at the reservoir scale. The one-dimensional diffusive mass transport model is based on equilibrium reactions for gas–water–rock interactions and kinetic reactions for sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. The modeling code is PHREEQC (pH-REdox-EQuilibrium written in the C programming language). The parameters that influence the hydrogen loss are identified. Crucial parameters are the amount of available electron acceptors, the storage time, and the kinetic rate constants. Hydrogen storage causes a slight decrease in porosity of the reservoir rock. Loss of aqueous hydrogen by diffusion is minimal. A wide range of conditions for optimized hydrogen storage in depleted gas fields is identified.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: Germany

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