Western Australia is looking for an underground storage solution to produce large amounts of hydrogen

The Western Australian (WA) government has spent $ 1 million investigating the possibility of using depleted oil and gas wells, salt caves, and underground mines to store large amounts of hydrogen to be produced in the near future. I did.

A state that aims to become a hydrogen production giant and will host the Western Green Energy Hub, the world’s largest facility. A 50GW (GW) renewable energy hub costs $ 95 billion and can produce 3.5 million. Tons of hydrogen for the year.

Overall, WA will have approximately 100 GW of hydrogen production and renewable energy hubs in its pipeline over the next decade. That’s twice as much as about 50 GW of Australia’s total coal, gas and renewable energy power plants.

However, there are few places in the state that can store such large amounts of hydrogen. This issue has led the Government of Western Australia to seek out forms of underground solutions that have previously proven useful for the storage of natural gas.

“As we start producing more and more hydrogen, we need to know how to safely move and store it in the state,” McTiernan said. Said..

Epoch Times Photo
Western Australia hydrogen landscape. Green represents the planned hydrogen hub, red represents the available onshore gas storage, white represents the Perth basin, and purple represents the salt cave. (Western Australia)

Relatively small projects planned, such as the 8 GWHy Energy and 5 GW Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Projects, are oil and gas-rich strips that stretch along the Western Australian coastline with available depleted wells. It is located above the Su basin.

However, the feasibility report (pdf) Pointed out that this technology is still in its infancy and there are currently no depleted oil or gas fields used to store hydrogen.

“Storing hydrogen in porous media (depleted gas and oil fields or aquifers) presents some challenges and remains largely unproven … Hydrogen is more chemically reactive, It can affect reservoir facies, flow behavior, and seal capacity, “the report states.

The report emphasized that the salt cave was previously proven to function and was the most robust form of underground storage due to the sealing properties provided by the walls of the salt-containing cave. did.

Far from the Perth Basin, the state’s second-largest planned facility, a $ 36 billion, 26 GW Asian renewable energy hub, has access to the Canning Salt Basin, about 200 km away.

However, the huge 50GW Western Green Energy Hub has limited nearby options, and report authors suggest that surface options may be more feasible and effective.

The second report commissions the possibility of using dampiers in the Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline, Australia’s longest gas pipeline with a length of over 1,500 km, to support the transport of hydrogen along the state’s coast. it was done.

Epoch Times Photo
Dampia Banbury Natural Gas Pipeline. (Western Australia)

Report (pdf) We have outlined the potential pathways for transporting hydrogen in specific sections of the pipeline by mixing natural gas and hydrogen at concentrations up to 9%.

WA’s hydrogen push and its renewable hydrogen strategy and roadmap have been driven by the state’s vast land availability and ideal conditions for using solar and wind.

“The Government of Western Australia has promised $ 160 million to ensure that Western Australia has reached its potential and become a global supplier of renewable hydrogen,” MacTiernan said. Told.

A spokesperson for the state government said the initial work on many projects will begin within the next few years and Asia will be the target of most export destinations.

“These projects are led by the private sector,” a spokesman told The Epoch Times. “Large-scale renewable hydrogen exports from WA are expected to begin in the next three to four years.”

“The Government of Western Australia’s Renewable Hydrogen Strategy points to Japan and South Korea as major target export markets.”

The Government of Western Australia has also expressed interest in using hydrogen for domestic transport, allocating the first $ 10 million allocated to the hydrogen fuel transport program, the results of which will be announced in mid-2022. ..

The federal government has made hydrogen a top priority in its goal of investing in low-emission technologies and recently signed a hydrogen trade agreement with Japan to expand production and exports.

Hydrogen hubs have also been announced in most other states, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

Daniel Kumerev


Daniel Khmelev is a Perth-based Australian reporter working on energy, technology and politics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics and computer science. Contact him at [email protected]