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Potential of Salt Caverns for Hydrogen Storage in Southern Ontario, Canada


Salt caverns produced by solution mining in Southern Ontario provide ideal spaces for gas storage due to their low permeability. Underground hydrogen storage (UHS) is an important part of the future renewable energy market in Ontario in order to achieve global carbon neutrality and to fill the gap left by retiring nuclear power plants. However, large-scale hydrogen storage is still restricted by limited storage space on the ground’s surface. In this study, hydrogen’s physical and chemical properties are first introduced and characterized by low molecular weight, high diffusivity, low solubility, and low density. Then, the geological conditions of the underground reservoirs are analyzed, especially salt caverns. Salt caverns, with their inert cavity environments and stable physical properties, offer the most promising options for future hydrogen storage. The scales, heights, and thicknesses of the roof and floor salt layers and the internal temperatures and pressures conditions of salt caverns can affect stabilities and storage capacities. Finally, several potential problems that may affect the safe storage of hydrogen in salt caverns are discussed. Through the comprehensive analysis of the influencing factors of hydrogen storage in salt caverns, this study puts forward the most appropriate development strategy for salt caverns, which provides theoretical guidance for UHS in the future and helps to reduce the risk of large-scale storage design.


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