(Hem­ming­st­edt, 3 Novem­ber 2021In the course of inspec­tion and main­te­nance work, Raf­finer­ie Hei­de sub­ject­ed the cav­ern to a suit­abil­i­ty test at the end of August for the planned stor­age of green hydro­gen as part of the WESTKÜSTE100 real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry project. The find­ings have now been pre­sent­ed: The cav­ern is suit­able for the stor­age of green hydrogen.

With the involve­ment of the rel­e­vant author­i­ties, the State Min­ing Office for Low­er Sax­ony and Schleswig-Hol­stein, Raf­finer­ie Hei­de was able to com­plete work on one of the cav­erns north of the refin­ery site on sched­ule at the start of Sep­tem­ber. This not only includ­ed inspec­tion and main­te­nance work, but also a review to deter­mine whether the cav­erns are suit­able for stor­ing green hydro­gen as part of the WESTKÜSTE100 project. The assess­ment is now complete.

On the basis of the insights gained, it can be ascer­tained that the cav­ern is suit­able for rein­forc­ing and con­vert­ing for hydro­gen stor­age,’ reports Dr San­dra Niebler, head of the com­mer­cial and eco­nom­ics divi­sion and respon­si­ble for the ener­gy tran­si­tion projects at the Raf­finer­ie site in Hem­ming­st­edt. Spe­cial inspec­tion equip­ment was brought into the cav­ern for the suit­abil­i­ty test. The equip­ment was able to estab­lish that the con­di­tions lead­ing to the cav­ern and with­in it were good over­all. ‘This is an impor­tant out­come for us at Raf­finer­ie Hei­de and par­tic­u­lar­ly for the future users of green hydro­gen with the aim of decar­bon­is­ing sec­tors such as avi­a­tion, indus­try and the chem­i­cal sec­tor. We are now in a posi­tion to move onto the next pro­ce­dur­al plan­ning phase for the planned stor­age of green hydro­gen in the cav­ern,’ says San­dra Niebler. All approval aspects will also be fur­ther fleshed out in the course of this phase.

The impor­tance of hydro­gen stor­age as part of WESTKÜSTE100
The plan with­in the WESTKÜSTE100 project is to use elec­tric­i­ty from renew­able ener­gy sources to pro­duce green hydro­gen in an elec­trol­y­sis plant. This green hydro­gen will be used in the nat­ur­al gas grid for sup­ply­ing heat, in a hydro­gen fill­ing sta­tion for cars and in the indus­tri­al process direct­ly with­in Raf­finer­ie Hei­de. This will help to decar­bonise indus­try, the mobil­i­ty sec­tor and the heat­ing mar­ket under real con­di­tions in accor­dance with the aims of the ener­gy tran­si­tion. Stor­ing the green hydro­gen will make it pos­si­ble to con­vert the avail­able renew­able ener­gy sources, such as wind ener­gy, into a con­tin­u­ous stream of ener­gy for indus­tri­al use. This will ensure that the green hydro­gen is also avail­able dur­ing peri­ods when there is a wind lull. Cav­erns close to the refin­ery are cur­rent­ly already used to store gov­ern­ment reserves of oil and fuels.

WESTKÜSTE100 project sta­tus
As part of the project, a 30 MW elec­trol­yser – Germany’s largest such plant – is set to be built for the pro­duc­tion of green hydro­gen and com­mis­sioned in 2023. Those involved in the project are cur­rent­ly work­ing towards reach­ing a final invest­ment deci­sion. Raf­finer­ie Hei­de is plan­ning to con­struct and com­mis­sion the 30 MW elec­trol­yser in con­junc­tion with Ørst­ed Ger­many and Hynam­ics Ger­many with­in the joint ven­ture H2 West­küste GmbH. ‘Over­all, the project has made good progress. The project team has already com­plet­ed the draft plans for the elec­trol­y­sis plant, includ­ing all con­nect­ed ancil­lary equip­ment and the asso­ci­at­ed approval aspects, which means that work can now begin on the next, detailed plan­ning phase,’ explains San­dra Niebler.

Find out more about the WESTKÜSTE100 project at www.westkueste100.de

Alexan­der Janke | PLÜCOM
Tel. +49 (0)40 790 218 990