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Optimizing Underground Hydrogen Storage in Aquifers: The Impact of Cushion Gas Type


This study investigated the impact of cushion gas type and presence on the performance of underground hydrogen storage (UHS) in an offshore North Sea aquifer. Using numerical simulation, the relationship between cushion gas type and UHS performance was comprehensively evaluated, providing valuable insights for designing an efficient UHS project delivery. Results indicated that cushion gas type can significantly impact the process's recovery efficiency and hydrogen purity. CO2 was found to have the highest storage capacity, while lighter gases like N2 and CH4 exhibited better recovery efficiency. Utilising CH4 as a cushion gas can lead to a higher recovery efficiency of 80%. It was also determined that utilising either of these cushion gases was always more beneficial than hydrogen storage alone, leading to an incremental hydrogen recovery up to 7%. Additionally, hydrogen purity degraded as each cycle progressed, but improved over time. This study contributes to a better understanding of factors affecting UHS performance and can inform the selection of cushion gas type and optimal operational strategies.

Funding source: The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding support by the Net Zero Technology Centre, UK to accomplish this work under the Hydrogen Innovation Grant scheme
Countries: United Kingdom

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