We Can Generate Green Hydrogen, But How Will We Store It?
The Aotearoa New Zealand goal of zero emissions by 2050 brings urgency and pressure to create enough green hydrogen and safely store it for the future.
Generating green hydrogen – hydrogen produced from water using renewable electricity – is a seasonal task that relies on factors such as excess water in hydro lakes or wind. Once generated, the next challenge is storage.
Hydrogen is currently stored in tanks, but University of Canterbury researchers Professor Andy Nicol and Senior Lecturer Dr David Dempsey are leading research to discover how to store large quantities of green hydrogen underground. This would enable Aotearoa to become more energy efficient, and support growth and decarbonisation of the country’s economy.
An expert in Structural Geology, Professor Nicol says their aim is to determine the “where” and “how” for putting hydrogen underground and getting it back out again. To do this, the research team will work alongside iwi across Aotearoa from the beginning of the research.
“We’ve found over the last 100 years that it’s possible to store methane gas underground in the small gaps or pores in rocks. No-one’s stored hydrogen in rocks, so we don’t know if it’s feasible yet, which is why our first priority is to find out if it’s possible,” he says.