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EUH2STARS: European Underground Hydrogen Storage Reference System

THE EUH2STARS is an ambitious, industry-driven flagship project supported by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership (via the 2023 call HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2023-02-1 – Large-Scale Demonstration of Underground Hydrogen Storage programme).

The project consortium, comprising of natural gas storage operators, technology providers, utility, research- and governmental organisations, is entrusted by the European Commission to demonstrate a competitive, complete and qualified underground hydrogen storage (UHS) in depleted porous natural gas reservoirs at technical readiness level (TRL) 8 by the end of the decade. Furthermore, EUH2STARS is a European flagship project for the conversion of existing underground natural gas into hydrogen storages and will pave the way for their integration into the future European hydrogen infrastructure. This will be demonstrated via several replication sites which are an integral part of the EUH2STARS project.  

As one of Europe’s biggest natural gas storage operators, RAG Austria AG is in the unique position to contribute an already existing UHS pilot facility, developed to TRL 6 within the Underground Sun Storage 2030 project, to the EUH2STARS project. A broad range of experience gained within the implementation of USS 2030 shall be processed to develop and define overarching rules and recommendations for hydrogen underground storage across Europe complemented with project experiences from consortium partner’s research activities (e.g. HyUSPRe, Aquamarine, Undergy, H2 Moonshot). 

Based on the broad range of the consortium’s experiences in underground hydrogen storage, EUH2STARS aims to deliver following key-results: 

  • Demonstration of the storage of pure hydrogen in depleted, porous reservoirs by operating four seasonal storage cycles at RAG’s demonstrator and two storage cycles at HGS’s replicator site. Each storage cycle considers different operational characteristics to demonstrate market-driven UHS operation at the end of the project.
  • Development of a beyond state-of-the-art hydrogen purification system and integration into the withdrawal process of RAG‘s demonstrator with the objective to demonstrate a successful separation of impurities from hydrogen within a real world set-up. During gas withdrawal from the demonstrator standardised hydrogen purification levels (e.g. hydrogen grade A or better) should be achieved.
  • Achievement of a relevant green hydrogen certification for the demonstrator’s power to hydrogen electrolysis and engage actively in green hydrogen certificate trading.
  • Provision of guidelines to successfully manage all environmental, safety, legal and (future) regulatory, societal and market-related aspects to ensure a successful implementation of UHS facilities in Europe.
  • Execution of an active stakeholder engagement strategy including an external expert advisory board to consider third parties‘ opinions and maximise public acceptance, transparency, visibility and exploitation of the project results.
  • Set-up of a generic framework on the topic of HSEQ (health, safety, environment and quality) including a facility site monitoring plan to ensure UHS at an ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) risk level when operating RAG‘s demonstrator, the replicator and future commercial UHS sites.
  • Presentation of transformation pathways to replicate demonstrator findings in full-scale commercial settings at existing underground natural gas storage facilities and new to be developed UHS sites in depleted natural gas reservoirs in Europe by providing subsurface design, surface facilities engineering and a comprehensive CapEx assessment.
  • Provision of best practice examples on how to integrate UHS facilities into regional, national and European energy infrastructure and markets by showcasing specific use cases in Austria, Hungary, The Netherlands and Spain including the integration into the European Hydrogen Backbone.

Contact Persons

Stephan Bauer
Head of Green Gas Techn.
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Matthias Greiml
Project Manager EUH2STARS
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