Natural production and storage of green gas
A multidisciplinary, international follow-up project entitled Underground Sun Conversion – Flexible Storage (USC-FlexStore), is further developing the technology tested in the Underground Sun Conversion project and designing green gas storage and production services based on the research findings. Field tests are being carried out at RAG’s research facility in Pilsbach, Upper Austria. The project involves production of green gas from hydrogen and carbon dioxide by means of methanation in a storage reservoir over 1,000m underground. In comparison with pumped storage and batteries, USC-FlexStore offers significantly greater flexibility and much higher injection and withdrawal capacities, enabling seasonal storage of large quantities of energy. Research will centre on the technological, commercial, and legal requirements for a cross-sector approach that can reduce the current need for substantial imports and use of fossil fuels in winter, when demand is stronger.
Options for geological storage of energy in Switzerland using the USC-FlexStore approach are another focus of the project. This process will provide a blueprint for future expansion to other regions around the world, serving as a model for the internationalisation of the concept. USC-FlexStore has been awarded funding by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The project kicked off in December 2020 and will run for two-and-a-half years.
“Archaea are the stars of the energy transition. We feed these microorganisms in our pore reservoirs with hydrogen and carbon dioxide – and they make them into natural, climateneutral green gas.”