The contract will see Howden supply a hydrogen compression and tube trailer filling solution.The project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of underground hydrogen storage, support the development of the hydrogen economy in Europe and ultimately lower the economy’s carbon usage.
Located north-west of Bourg-en-Bresse, the demonstration facility intends to assess, for the first time, the link in the hydrogen value chain for underground storage. It will also assess industrial-scale green hydrogen production and storage in salt caverns and the technical and economic reproducibility of the process to other sites throughout Europe.
As part of the development, Howden will supply a containerised high-pressure diaphragm compressor and a tube trailer filling station. The reliability, efficiency and safety delivered by Howden’s compression solution is matched with the large-scale hydrogen storage and distribution system requirements and will also meet storage injection, extraction and storage conditions.
The facility is France's leading natural gas storage site in salt caverns in terms of capacity. It will rely on local renewable energy (photovoltaic, hydraulic) to produce 400 kg of green hydrogen per day.
The project was launched earlier this year, with a subsurface and surface engineering study, which precedes the field-testing phase. It is supported by seven partners with complementary expertise: STORENGY, INERIS, Armines/Polytechnique, INOVYN, ESK, ELEMENT Energy, AXELERA.
Construction of the electrolysis unit for on-site green hydrogen production will commence in 2022.
Salah Mahdy, Renewable Hydrogen Director at Howden said: “The expansion of a hydrogen ecosystem relies heavily on renewable energy infrastructure to unlock the potential of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source. Renewable energy sources have previously faced challenges due to their availability compared to market needs. Today, the potential of hydrogen is being examined and understood as a leading option for storing and utilising renewable energy.
“Our hydrogen compressors will contribute to the viability aspects of large-scale underground energy storage and support the development of the green hydrogen economy in Europe”.