Only a few offshore gas fields are needed to store enough energy as hydrogen to balance the entire seasonal demand for UK domestic heating, according to research.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh sought to compare geological storage capacity to storage need, using the domestic heating system in the UK as a case study with the aim of maintaining the existing gas distribution network. Hydrogen, they suggested, can be stored in gas fields offshore before then being transported through pipelines to existing gas terminals and into the gas network, balancing the “significant annual cyclicity” in energy demand for heating.
Publishing the study in the journal, Applied Energy, they found that the hydrogen energy storage demand in the UK is around 77.9TWh – approximately 25% of the total energy from natural gas used for domestic heating. The total estimated storage capacity of the gas fields, meanwhile, was found to be 2661.9TWh. As well as highlighting that just a few offshore gas fields would be required, the researchers added that the study shows hydrogen storage would not compete for the subsurface space needed for other low carbon applications, such as carbon storage or compressed air energy storage.