New research project in Soil and Rock Mechanics

Underground storage of hydrogen gas in lined rock caverns

Published Nov 10, 2017

Forecasting the imminent degeneration of the fossil energy matrix in the near future, researchers worldwide have invested considerable amount of effort in renewable and clean alternatives. Sweden has assumed the responsibility and taken the lead on this endeavor. The initiative called HYdrogen BReakthrough Ironmaking Technology (HYBRIT) has gathered the Swedish Energy Agency along with partners from industry (SSAB, LKAB, Vattenfall and Sandvik) and academia (KTH and LTU) in a collaborative program of over 100 million SEK for a transition to fossil-free energy-mining-iron-steel industry. HYBRIT is especially interested in an energy transition to hydrogen gas; however, the large cost involved in the production and storage of hydrogen appears to be a major obstacle for its commercialization. In order to mitigate this cost and make this asset feasible, it is necessary to produce hydrogen gas during periods of low electricity prices and store it for later usage. Suitable storages for this large volume of gas are underground lined caverns capable of standing high pressures due to the confining rock around it.

In this large-scale project, KTH Division of Soil and Rock Mechanics is in charge of evaluating facility designs for hydrogen storage, taking into account safety and economic issues, and tackling the main problems involved in the process to facilitate the introduction of this renewable energy in a time frame of 20 to 30 years. The challenges of the project will be solved in close collaboration with Vattenfall and Sandvik. This project will be conducted by Davi Damasceno that recently initiated his doctoral studies at the Division of Soil and Rock Mechanics. He got his Bachelor’s in his home country, Brazil, and a Master’s in the United States focused in numerical geomechanics. Davi is enjoying to be a KTH employee and expects to contribute significantly to the institution and community in the following years.

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