UK Energy Trial to Explore Scottish Hydrogen Storage Innovation
National Gas (NG) has secured Ofgem funding to explore how a Scottish hydrogen storage firm could help to decarbonise the UK’s gas networks.

Through the study, NG will explore a new type of underground hydrogen storage, developed in Edinburgh by energy storage company Gravitricity.

Hydrogen storage innovation is essential for a future hydrogen network

The technology, which is called H2FlexiStore, uses the Earth’s natural geography to store up to 100 tonnes of pressurised hydrogen in a lined underground rock shaft.

It is hoped that this technology could be utilised as an intermediate storage solution across the UK, alongside long-term storage already in development with NG.

H2FlexiStore offers location flexibility enabling hydrogen to be stored at its point of use, while only taking up a small footprint compared to above ground methods of compressed hydrogen storage.

Storage is a key consideration when developing a hydrogen network, with NG exploring options to support supply and demand management, as well as their investigations into how hydrogen could be transported by utilising the country existing gas infrastructure.

Martin Wright, co-founder and executive chairman of Gravitricity, said: “The future large-scale adoption of green hydrogen in industrial processes and for heat and transport will require safe and cost-effective mid-scale hydrogen storage, which can be located wherever required – both in distribution networks and at point of use.

“Each H2FlexiStore can store up to 100 tonnes of pressurised green hydrogen safely below ground in a lined rock shaft, which can be built more cheaply than above ground vessels, with a much smaller visual footprint.

We believe it will be a key technology in gas networks of the future and we look forward to working closely with National Gas to share our combined expertise.

Echoing these sentiments, Corinna Jones, NG Head of Innovation, also commented: “Hydrogen storage will be important in ensuring a robust and resilient supply of energy to the UK in the energy transition.

“Novel technologies and solutions such as this are key to helping us achieve net-zero targets by 2050.”

The funding has come from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund

NG will use the funding to conduct a three-month feasibility study into H2FlexiStore, after which a full-scale demonstrator project could follow in 2025.

The funding has been awarded through Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which, in partnership with Innovate UK, aims to ‘drive the innovation needed to transform gas and electricity networks for a low-carbon future.’

The fund seeks to support the UK’s ambition climate targets by funding projects that could accelerate the transition to net zero at the lowest cost to consumers.

Launched in 2021, the SIF programme is expected to invest £450 million by 2026, with the option to increase and extend as necessary.

NG applied to Round 3 of the fund as part of a consortium, consisting of Gravitricity, Southern Gas Networks, Edinburgh University, Energy Reform and Revolutionary Engineering and Design.