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Research reveals hydrogen storage potential in Taranaki to support growth in renewable electricity

Research by the University of Canterbury, commissioned by Firstgas Group, investigates the potential of existing underground gas storage to store Green Hydrogen

Research by the University of Canterbury has identified seven depleted oil and gas reservoirs in Taranaki that are potential candidates to store large volumes of clean energy underground in the form of green hydrogen.

Professor Andy Nicol, who led the research project said, “In 20 years, hydrogen is projected to account for at least 10% of the global energy system. We are optimistic that with further research and technical trials these depleted oil and gas reservoirs in Taranaki will prove favourable for storing 30% or more of New Zealand’s hydrogen requirements.”

New Zealand currently stores energy for electricity generation in hydro lakes, Huntly’s coal stockpile, and underground natural gas storage. Natural gas fuels 1,730 MW of existing gas-fired electricity generation capacity in the North Island, second only to hydro generation in New Zealand’s electricity mix[1].

However, more storage will be needed as New Zealand’s electricity system moves to a higher proportion of renewable generation sources.

James Irvine, GM Future Fuels, Firstgas Group said, “Large-scale long-duration energy storage is essential to support growing electricity demand whilst mitigating seasonal and dry-year issues, keeping prices low and stable, and supporting new wind and solar development.

“Storing energy in the form of hydrogen in depleted oil and gas reservoirs offers the potential for a low-cost energy storage solution that uses existing infrastructure. Hydrogen can be created using surplus renewable electricity and used as a clean fuel for transport and heat or converted back to electricity at times of high demand.

“Taranaki’s depleted gas reservoirs are ideally situated close to a world-class offshore wind resource. Furthermore, having large-scale energy storage in the North Island provides very important resilience benefits to the ongoing security of electricity supply.

“It means that hydrogen would not only be delivered to New Zealand users, but done so through existing infrastructure, making it an efficient way for New Zealand to achieve its wider zero emissions targets.

“We’re considering the further testing and programmes of work recommended by this report to progress large-scale hydrogen storage in New Zealand, a key enabler to unlock the full potential benefits that green hydrogen can offer” concluded Irvine.

For a full copy of the report please click here Underground hydrogen storage Firstgas report March 14 2022 (003)


[1] Power System Live Data | Transpower

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