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Start of European Reference project EUH2STARS for large-volume hydrogen storage

Start of European Reference project EUH2STARS for large-volume hydrogen storage

Paving the way towards the future of European underground hydrogen storage

THE EUH2STARS is a European flagship project for the development of marked-ready underground hydrogen storage (UHS) in depleted porous natural gas reservoirs and for building the infrastructure for hydrogen storage. The project is supported by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership.

With its complementary expertise in various disciplines the EUH2STARS consortium not only covers the entire hydrogen storage value chain – storage system (RAG Austria AG, Shell Global Solutions International B.V./The Netherlands, Energie Beheer Nederland BV/The Netherlands, Hungarian Gas Storage/Hungary, Trinity Capital S. L./Spain), hydrogen processing (Axiom angewandte Prozesstechnik GmbH, Axiom Polska Sp.z o.o), transport networks (AGGM) and energy suppliers (LINZ AG) – but also integrates key research institutions (Montanuniversität Leoben, The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research/The Netherlands, Energieinstitut an der Johannes Kepler Universität Linz).

In the Austrian part of the project the consortium leader RAG Austria AG, together with LINZ AG, AGGM Austrian Gas Grid Management AG, Axiom and the Energieinstitut an der JKU Linz, is demonstrating for the first time how urban areas can safely use the summer sun in winter all year round in the form of green heat and electricity – without any CO2 emissions.

More information on the project

World's first geological hydrogen storage facility goes into operation

World's first geological hydrogen storage facility goes into operation

Large-volume storage of hydrogen enables energy transition while maintaining security of supply. With “Underground Sun Storage“, the world‘s first hydrogen storage facility in an underground porous reservoir, RAG Austria AG – Renewables and Gas – and its project partners are setting new international standards.

Two years after the start of the project, the underground sun storage facility was opened on April 27, 2023.

In this unique cross-sector demonstration facility, solar energy is converted into green hydrogen by water electrolysis and stored in pure form in an underground natural gas reservoir in Gampern, Upper Austria. The scale of the storage corresponds to the summer surplus of about 1,000 photovoltaic systems on family homes. In summer, this surplus energy is stored and in winter the green energy can be provided again in the form of electricity and heat.

“In Gampern in Upper Austria we are demonstrating what is possible and necessary to ensure a secure supply of green energy throughout the year and thus enable the energy transition.”, Mitteregger emphasizes.

Press Release 27 April 2023

Video: "Underground Sun Storage"

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Sustainability Report 21 l 22

Sustainability Report 21 l 22

We are pleased to present RAG Austria AG's third Sustainability Report.

The two years covered by the report were shaped by various different crises and major challenges, and were dominated by a global pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and the accelerating pace of climate change. More than any other factor, the changing geopolitical situation has sparked a huge increase in public debate on the need for the energy transformation and rapidly ushered in a watershed in energy policy. Europe is now seeing for itself just how essential crisis-proof, climate-neutral energy supplies and predictable energy costs are.

Renewables and gas – shaping the energy future

Sustainability is central to our day-to-day operations, and we are working hard to develop new solutions along the entire value chain. We are driving forward initiatives designed to bring the energy sector and related technologies closer to becoming carbonneutral and to ensure affordable energy supplies. Our sustainability strategy is clearly aligned with our innovative capabilities and our responsible, forward-looking approaches.

A look back at what we have achieved so far clearly shows that we are heading in the right direction – towards a new energy future. With this in mind, we are working on additional projects connected with our material economic, social and environmental topics in order to achieve continuous improvements in our sustainability management processes.

This report shows you some of the steps we are taking in relation to sustainability and security of supply. We also take stock, present the specific measures we have introduced in order to meet even higher standards, and profile our groundbreaking demonstration projects.

Online Sustainability Report

Sustainable, safe and efficient energy storage

Sustainable, safe and efficient energy storage

RAG Austria AG is Austria’s largest energy storage company, and one of Europe's leading gas storage facility operators. The company has gas storage capacity of about 6.3 billion cubic metres of natural gas, or about 6% of total capacity in the EU. We are storage facility operator of a total of eleven pore storage facilities. These include the storage facilities in Puchkirchen/Haag, Haidach, Haidach 5, Aigelsbrunn and the 7Fields interconnected gas storage as well as the hydrogen storage facilities in Pilsbach and Rubensdorf.

Our core focus is the storage, conversion and needs-based conditioning of energy in gaseous forms.

The storage capacities of the energy storage facilities we operate are marketed by SEFE Storage, Uniper and RAG Energy Storage.

The energy storage facilities we operate are among the most modern in Europe, thanks to our decades of experience and the highest environmental and safety standards in planning, construction and operation. Especially in the current energy policy situation, it is particularly important that the storage facilities are optimally maintained and in operation at all times - around the clock - in order to store the energy supplied and make it available at full capacity when it is needed.

Currently used primarily for traditional natural gas, in the future the storage facilities will enable the seasonal storage of green gas such as hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energies such as wind and electricity and thus makes electricity storable. The enormous energy potential and incomparable flexibility of our storage facilities in the former gas reservoirs thus make them essential for a sustainable energy future.

More information about energy storage

Start of the project "Underground Sun Storage 2030"

Start of the project "Underground Sun Storage 2030"

In the lead project "Underground Sun Storage 2030" (USS 2030), the safe, seasonal and large-scale storage of renewable energy in the form of hydrogen in underground gas reservoirs is being developed. In addition, all partners involved in the project will jointly gain valuable technical and economic knowledge for the development of a secure hydrogen supply.

In this research project, the only one of its kind in the world, renewable solar energy is converted into green hydrogen in a climate-neutral way by means of electrolysis and stored in a pure form in former natural gas reservoirs. Until 2025, interdisciplinary technical-scientific investigations for the energy future will be carried out under real conditions at a small former natural gas reservoir in the municipality of Gampern (Upper Austria) under the leadership of RAG Austria AG together with the project partners. A customised research facility will be built for this purpose.

Press release 8 June 2021

"H2EU+Store" – Green Hydrogen for Europe

"H2EU+Store" – Green Hydrogen for Europe

Hydrogen from sun and wind will be produced in Ukraine and stored for seasonal demand in Central Europe in the future

In order to accelerate and ramp up the production of green hydrogen for Europe, which is an absolute must have for a climate-neutral European energy supply, the international industry partnership consisting of Bayerngas GmbH, bayernets GmbH, Eco-Optima LLC, Open Grid Europe GmbH and RAG Austria AG has designed the "H2EU+Store" project. 

"H2EU+Store" will on the one hand create the necessary capacities for renewable electricity and hydrogen production in Ukraine and on the other hand the expansion of storage volumes in Austria and Germany , accompanied by adaptations in the area of gas transport to Central Europe.

Press release 5 May 2021

Start of "Underground Sun Conversion – FlexStore" project

Start of "Underground Sun Conversion – FlexStore" project

Sustainable storage for the renewable energy system of the future

From December 2020, the “Underground Sun Conversion – Flexible Storage” (USC-FlexStore) project will investigate seasonal storage of large quantities of renewable energy to be made available year round.

This innovative international project is aimed at developing a seasonal, high-volume transformation and storage solution for erratic renewable generation. Energy will be stored safely in gaseous form in underground facilities at depths of over 1,000 metres.

The aim of the project is to take RAG Austria AG’s patented “Underground Sun Conversion” (USC) technology (which involves methanation of CO2 and green H2) to the next level, and to design services based on it. Field tests are planned at RAG’s research facility in Pilsbach (Upper Austria).

Press release 22 January 2021

„Zukunft Grünes Gas“: The new platform for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system transformation

„Zukunft Grünes Gas“: The new platform for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system transformation

Since 10th November 2020, the new "Zukunft Grünes Gas" platform of the "Österreichische Vereinigung für das Gas- und Wasserfach" (ÖVGW) and the "Fachverbands der Gas- und Wärmeversorgungsunternehmungen" (FGW)  has been online. The new homepage focuses on information about green gas.

A sustainable, safe and affordable energy system transformation will only be possible with climate-friendly green gas. In the years ahead, domestic gas suppliers want to put this change into practice. Green gases such as biogas and hydrogen will become more important in the future.

In order for the energy system tranformation to succeed, all existing potentials of green energy in Austria are needed.

Gas currently accounts for more than 20 percent of total energy demand and stands for 100 percent supply security. Replacing this energy source is neither technically nor economically possible. The solution: green gas that can be used just like the gas we are used to today.