Sweden – SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have started building a rock cavern storage facility for fossil-free hydrogen gas on a pilot scale.
This is an important step in the development of a fossil-free value chain for fossil-free steel. The investment cost of just over SEK 250 million is divided equally across the holding companies and the Swedish Energy Agency, which provides support via Industriklivet.
Hybrit joint initiative
As part of the SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joint initiative Hybrit, Hybrit Development AB is starting the construction of a hydrogen storage facility in Svartöberget to develop the technology for storage. Fossil-free hydrogen, which will replace coal and coke, is a crucial part of the production technique for fossil-free iron and steel production, where emissions of carbon dioxide will be virtually eliminated.
Hydrogen storages are predicted to play a very important role in future power and energy balancing, and in large-scale hydrogen production. The storage facility is expected to be ready and operational from 2022 until 2024.
The 100 cubic metre hydrogen storage is being built in an enclosed rock cavern approximately 30 metres below ground. Building the storage facility underground provides opportunities to ensure the pressure required to store large amounts of energy in the form of hydrogen in a cost-effective way. The technology used is adapted to Scandinavian bedrock conditions and will now be developed further to handle the storage of hydrogen.
Fossil-free hydrogen is central to the Hybrit process. Hydrogen can be produced cost-effectively through the electrolysis of water using fossil-free electricity. The hydrogen produced by the electrolysers can be used immediately or stored for later use. The storage facility is based on proven technology and the hydrogen is used in the plant’s direct reduction reactor to remove oxygen from iron ore pellets. The fossil-free sponge iron resulting from the process is then used as a raw material in the manufacture of fossil-free steel.