Test facility in Austria ready for green power-to-gas research project

Wind farm in Austria. Author: Andrij Bulba. License: Creative Commons: Attribution 2.0 Generic

October 8 (SeeNews) - Earlier this week a test facility opened in Austria as part of a EUR-4.5-million (USD 5m) research project focused on the storability of hydrogen as an additive to natural gas in pore reservoirs.

The Underground Sun Storage test facility is located in Pilsbach. “The results from laboratory tests conducted as part of the project have been very promising, and have fed into implementation of the test facility,” said Markus Mitteregger, CEO of energy group Rohoel-Aufsuchungs Aktiengesellschaft (RAG) which is leading the Austrian team in the project.

Under the power-to-gas concept, excess electricity produced by solar and wind parks is turned into hydrogen that can either be directly injected into the gas grid, or converted into methane via a methanation process using carbon dioxide. Direct hydrogen admixture is currently the more economic option, due to its higher efficiency and the shortage of suitable sources of carbon dioxide. However, so far there has been no research into the impact of hydrogen on the storage capacity employed by natural gas infrastructure.

The Underground Sun Storage team will carry out research into underground storage of a mixture of hydrogen and synthetic methane in the test facility. RAG’s project partners include universities and institutes in Austria and foreign partners such as the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW) and Hychico of Argentina, among others.

The project has been granted EUR 2.8 million by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund, under the ministry of technology. It is planned to be completed in 2016.

(EUR 1 = USD 1.130)

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