HYBRIT pilot facility for hydrogen storage starts operating in Sweden


Sweden – The HYBRIT pilot facility, which stores fossil-free hydrogen, has begun operations in Lulea, Sweden.

This rock cavern storage facility is the first of its sort in the world, and it is used to store hydrogen gas that does not use any fossil fuels. The two-year test period will now start and continue until 2024.

Size-wise, the pilot facility is 100 cubic meters, but a full-scale store could require 100,000 to 120,000 cubic meters of pressurized hydrogen gas. That’s enough energy to store 100 GWh of hydrogen gas, or about 100 gigawatt hours of electricity.

Initial pressure tests with water after the pilot facility’s June opening proved its mechanical stability, tightness, and pressure capacity. The facility was then pressurized to its maximum of 250 bar by filling it with hydrogen gas. Svartöberget’s pilot facility has been successfully commissioned, proving that the storage facility functions as intended and is completely safe.

Hydrogen storage facility

As part of the process for storing gas in a lined rock cavern (LRC), the cavern walls are coated in a sealant. While LRCs have been extensively tested with natural gas, the pilot plant in Lulea is the first to put the technology through its paces with the filling and emptying of hydrogen gas.

In 2016, the SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall announced the HYBRIT program. The hydrogen storage facility is a crucial link in the production chain producing carbon-neutral steel. The creation of sponge iron, the raw material behind fossil-free steel, is ensured by creating fossil-free hydrogen gas when there is a lot of electricity, such as when it is very windy, and using stored hydrogen gas when the electricity system is under strain.