Firstgas reveals potential green hydrogen storage in NZ


The University of Canterbury has discovered several underground gas reservoirs that could potentially store green hydrogen.

The investigation, which was commissioned by Firstgas has identified seven underground oil and gas reservoirs in Taranaki, New Zealand as potential candidates to store large quantities of clean energy.

According to Professor Andy Nicol, who led the research project, this result is significant because hydrogen is projected to account for at least 10 per cent of the global energy system in twenty years time.

“We are optimistic that with further research and technical trials these depleted oil and gas reservoirs in Taranaki will prove favourable for storing 30 per cent or more of New Zealand’s hydrogen requirements,” Nicol said.

Currently, energy in New Zealand is stored in hydro lakes, Huntly’s coal stockpile and underground natural gas storage. However, as New Zealand’s electricity demand increases, and the system moves toward a greater proportion of renewables, more storage will be needed.

The general manager of Future Fuels and Firstgas, James Irvine, believes that large scale energy storage is of the utmost importance when it comes to meeting the electricity demand, keeping prices low, and supporting the development of renewable energy sources.

“Storing energy in the form of hydrogen in depleted oil and gas reservoirs offers the potential for a low-cost energy storage solution that uses existing infrastructure. Hydrogen can be created using surplus renewable electricity and used as a clean fuel for transport and heat or converted back to electricity at times of high demand,” Irvine said.

“Taranaki’s depleted gas reservoirs are ideally situated close to a world-class offshore wind resource. Furthermore, having large-scale energy storage in the North Island provides very important resilience benefits to the ongoing security of electricity supply.

“It means that hydrogen would not only be delivered to New Zealand users, but done so through existing infrastructure, making it an efficient way for New Zealand to achieve its wider zero emissions targets.”

Further testing is being considered, as Firstgas is looking to expand New Zealand’s potential for large-scale hydrogen storage.


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