Western Australia Explores Storing Mounds of Hydrogen Undergound

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The Western Australia (WA) authorities has spent $1 cardinal connected exploring the feasibility of utilizing depleted oil and gas wells, brackish caverns, and underground mines to store the immense quantities of hydrogen it plans to nutrient successful the adjacent future.

WA has eyes connected becoming a hydrogen-making elephantine and volition big the world’s biggest facility, the Western Green Energy Hub—a 50 GW (gigawatt) renewable energy hub acceptable to outgo $95 cardinal and susceptible of producing 3.5 cardinal tonnes of hydrogen per year.

In all, WA has astir 100 GW of hydrogen-making renewable vigor hubs successful the pipeline implicit the adjacent decade—double the astir 50 GW successful Australia’s full unchangeable of coal, gas, and renewable powerfulness stations.

But the hydrogen presently has fewer places it tin go, an contented that has prompted the WA authorities to research forms of subterranean solutions that person antecedently been proven successful the retention of earthy gas.

“As we commencement producing much and much hydrogen, we request to cognize however we are going to safely determination and store it astir the state,” MacTiernan said.

Epoch Times Photo Western Australia’s hydrogen landscape. Green represents planned hydrogen hubs, reddish represents disposable land-based state storage, achromatic represents the Perth Basin, and purple represents brackish caverns. (State of Western Australia)

Comparatively smaller projects planned, specified arsenic the 8 GW HyEnergy and 5 GW Murchison Renewable hydrogen projects, are situated connected apical of the Perth Basin—an lipid and gas-rich portion stretching alongside WA’s coastline with disposable depleted wells.

However, the feasibility study (pdf) noted that the exertion was successful its infancy, and that determination were presently nary depleted lipid oregon state fields utilized to store hydrogen.

“Storing hydrogen successful porous media (depleted state and lipid fields oregon aquifers) presents respective challenges and remains mostly unproven … Hydrogen is much chemically reactive which whitethorn impact the reservoir lithology, travel behaviour, and seal capacity,” the study stated.

The study highlighted that brackish caverns had been proven to enactment antecedently and were the astir robust signifier of underground retention owed to the sealing properties provided by the salt-laden cavern walls.

Far from the Perth Basin, the state’s 2nd largest planned facility—the $36 billion, 26 GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub—could utilise the Canning Salt Basin astir 200 kilometres away.

However, the elephantine 50 GW Western Green Energy Hub has constricted adjacent options, with the authors of the study suggesting aboveground options whitethorn beryllium much feasible and effective.

A 2nd study was commissioned into the imaginable usage of the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline—Australia’s longest state pipeline astatine a magnitude of much than 1,500 km—to enactment the transmission of hydrogen on the state’s coast.

Epoch Times Photo Dampier Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline. (State of Western Australia)

The study (pdf) outlined a imaginable pathway of transporting hydrogen successful definite sections of the pipeline by blending earthy state with hydrogen astatine concentrations of, astatine most, 9 percent.

WA’s hydrogen propulsion and its Renewable Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap has been driven by the state’s extended onshore availability coupled with perfect conditions for harnessing star and wind.

“The WA Government has committed $160 cardinal to making definite Western Australia reaches its imaginable and becomes a planetary supplier of renewable hydrogen,” MacTiernan said.

A authorities authorities spokesperson said that aboriginal works of galore of the projects would statesman wrong the adjacent fewer years, with Asia becoming the people destination for astir of the exports.

“These projects are led by the backstage sector,” the spokesperson told The Epoch Times. “We expect large-scale renewable hydrogen exports from WA to get underway implicit the adjacent 3 to 4 years.”

“The WA Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Strategy points to Japan and South Korea arsenic cardinal people export markets.”

The WA authorities has besides expressed involvement successful utilizing the hydrogen domestically for transport, allocating an archetypal $10 cardinal allocated for its Hydrogen Fuelled Transport Program the result of which volition beryllium announced successful mid-2022.

The national authorities has placed hydrogen arsenic a apical precedence successful its extremity to put successful low-emissions technologies, precocious signing a hydrogen commercialized pact with Japan successful a bid to ramp up accumulation and export.

Hydrogen hubs person besides been announced successful astir different states, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

Daniel Khmelev

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Daniel Khmelev is an Australian newsman based successful Perth covering energy, tech, and politics. He holds bachelor's degrees successful math, physics, and machine science. Contact him astatine [email protected]