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Belfast power-to-X project expands hydrogen storage plans


Hydrogen storage for 70 MW of electrolysis

dCarbonX to develop subsurface storage

Could cut Belfast natural gas demand

The city of Belfast has expanded plans for hydrogen storage as part of its renewable energy hub project in Northern Ireland, which aims to reduce carbon-intensive natural gas use, energy storage developer dCarbonX said June 14.

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The planned subsurface renewable hydrogen storage facility will accommodate production from 70 MW of electrolyzers, promoting wind and solar power projects, dCarbonX said in a statement.

"An initial geological assessment of two high-graded storage sites has been completed" since January, and a modular, scalable subsurface storage solution has been selected, dCarbonX said.

"A detailed logistics and drilling feasibility assessment is now underway," it said. "Regulatory consent and commercial agreements will be required for final project sanction."

dCarbonX is developing the hydrogen storage solution for its partner renewable energy development company B9 Energy. The two companies are members of the Belfast Power-to-X network, focused on the decarbonization of the Belfast city region, the statement said.

Belfast Power-to-X aims to create low-cost renewable hydrogen supply, along with supply chains to "unlock demand from transport, heat and power sectors across Northern Ireland, enabling public-private investment in infrastructure," it said.

The scalable subsurface storage solution will use liquid hydrogen, and could potentially be rolled out globally for storage sites such as at processing hubs or refueling stations, it added.

"Safe subsurface energy storage is a key enabler for the balanced growth of intermittent renewable energy production from wind and solar," dCarbonX CEO Tony O'Reilly said. "Drawing on our subsurface knowledge & strategic partnerships, dCarbonX has developed an innovative solution for the safe and secure underground storage of liquid hydrogen for Northern Ireland."

Invest Northern Ireland is supporting the Belfast Power-to-X project through its Collaborative Growth Programme.

"This hydrogen storage initiative by BP2X Collaborative Network members dCarbonX and B9 Energy could see Belfast playing a leading role in the future of hydrogen storage and global decarbonization," Invest NI Director of Skills and Competitiveness Niall Casey said.

dCarbonX is primarily focused on developing storage for green hydrogen, and is also exploring opportunities for carbon capture, use and storage, and geothermal energy in other UK and Ireland offshore locations. It aims to build and operate a portfolio of subsurface storage facilities to store 11 TWh of hydrogen and other hydrogen carriers, such as ammonia, and 8 million mt/year of CO2.

The company is also developing offshore renewable hydrogen subsurface storage offshore Ireland with Ireland's ESB. The partnership will also support the creation of a proposed "green hydrogen valley" centered around the Poolbeg peninsula in Dublin, integrating renewable hydrogen production and storage with a view to decarbonizing heavy transport, shipping, industry and power generation.

Platts assessed the cost of producing hydrogen via alkaline electrolysis in the UK (including capex) at GBP4.49/kg ($6.33/kg) June 11. PEM electrolysis production was assessed at GBP5.56/kg, while blue hydrogen production by autothermal reforming was GBP1.75/kg (including capex, CCS and carbon).