French HyPSTER project ready for construction


France Clean Hydrogen Partnership-supported HyPSTER project, the first green hydrogen storage demonstration in a salt cavern, is ready to begin construction.

The engineering studies for the project in Etrez, France, have been completed and validated, and the project’s implementation is moving forward. These studies will allow the construction phase to begin, including the construction of the surface hydrogen production platform and the conversion of the salt cavern into a hydrogen storage tank. In addition, the various partners, both French and international, have signed the contracts for the surface and underground works’ equipment.

By spending 13 million euros, the project aims to better understand the role of storage in the hydrogen value chain, and in the long term support the growth of the hydrogen sector in Europe.

To define the layout of piping, instrumentation, electrical, and civil engineering facilities, industrial designers have completed the design of the new facilities to be built. To ensure the construction permit can be obtained, this phase allows for follow-up on administrative requests. It has been determined that the test protocol will last for 100 cycles over the course of three months for R&D purposes. The goal is to simulate the injection and withdrawal of hydrogen in order to meet the needs of consumers in the future for low carbon hydrogen.

Surface and underground equipment

PEM electrolysers of 1MW (Elogen), compressors for the production platform and dispensing solutions (Howden), completion elements (Schlumberger), and hydrogen transport tubes between the surface and the salt cavern were all provided by various partners as part of the project. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed with TechnipFMC for the development of a Hydrogen wellhead. An enhanced asset management system is also possible because of a strategic partnership with Schneider Electric.

A new electrolysis unit and alterations to storage facilities

Different manufacturers are building the electrolysis equipment needed to separate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. During the first half of the year, Storengy plans to begin building the platform. The salt cavern, which had previously been used for natural gas storage research and development, will be converted next.

During the start-up of the surface installations in March 2023, the first hydrogen bubbles will be produced, followed by an experimental phase in real conditions: the cycling tests will be conducted in the cavern one month later.

As a result of this pilot, a green hydrogen sector at industrial scale and its technical and economic replicability can be established in other European locations. As a result, renewable and low-carbon energy sources can now be supplied on a larger scale with greater flexibility. As an added bonus, it is in keeping with the French government’s stated intention to provide additional funding to the hydrogen industry through the France 2030 Investment Plan, which totals €1.9 billion.