Dorset Salt Cavern To Be Converted To Hydrogen Storage Facility
An Agreement to Lease between UK Oil & Gas PLC’s subsidiary, UK Energy Storage LTD (UKEn) and Portland Port Limited (PPL) could see 1.2 billion m3 of underground salt caverns utilised for hydrogen storage. Hydrogen Industry Leaders look at the salt cavern and how it will increase the UK’s storage capacity.

Two former Royal Navy sites in Dorset will be leased to develop hydrogen-ready gas storage and green hydrogen generation capacity. The underground salt carven storage sits beneath the land, offering a capacity of 43bn square ft (1.2bn square metres).

Building on a previous project by site owner Portland Gas Storage, UKOG’s UK Energy Storage (UKEn) subsidiary has agreed to lease the two sites to try and renew planning consent and secure necessary development finance.

Creating An Energy Hub Within An Active Harbour Site Is The Aim

Such storage capacities are indispensable if hydrogen is to make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of energy-consuming sectors. Therefore, in the long run, the UK needs caverns to store large amounts of hydrogen.

The agreement seeks to invigorate and situate approximately 1.2 billion m3 of underground salt cavern storage beneath Portland Port Limited (PPL)’s land and hopes that the storage would be linked to a national pipeline system, via a new hydrogen-ready pipeline, with a capacity of 28 million m3 per day.


Credit: Jack Anstey, Unsplash

Chief Executive of UK Oil & Gas, Stephen Sanderson, said: “It’s hard to recall a time in recent history in which the critical importance of energy security and the resilience of the UK energy system has been so much in the public and governmental eye.

“UKOG is therefore delighted to announce the intention to develop an infrastructure project, fully in keeping with the government’s new British Energy Security and Hydrogen Strategies and National Grid’s 2021 Future Energy Scenarios (“FES”), that could both materially strengthen the UK energy system’s resilience to supply and demand shocks, plus provide the foundations for a potentially significant and strategic element of the future green hydrogen economy.”

The Development Would Qualify As A Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project

Working with consultant Xodus Group, UKEn is using established engineering concepts, public record planning submissions, publicly available data, and internal studies. The next steps will be the completion of detailed engineering and commercial studies.

Planning consultants have indicated that the development is expected to be qualified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and would require planning consent to be sought via an application. Completion of the envisioned project is said to significantly increase the UK’s storage capacity.

An increase in storage capacity will benefit the UK through this agreement as outlined in the UK Government’s UK Hydrogen Strategy document. One of the solutions mentioned in the document that will help to overcome industry challenges is the enabling of infrastructure. The use of hydrogen will require new networks and storage, and agreements like this one in Dorset will provide the UK with the needed infrastructure.