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Sustainability report 19/20

„Underground Sun Storage 2030“

Launched in March 2021, this unique research project – the only one of its kind in the world – is aimed at finding ways to convert renewable solar energy into pure hydrogen using climate-neutral electrolysis and storing it in depleted gas reservoirs.

Until 2025, a consortium headed by RAG Austria AG will carry out interdisciplinary testing under real-life conditions at a small depleted natural gas reservoir in Gampern, Upper Austria, with a view to taking steps towards realising the energy industry of the future. These experiments will be complemented by the development of suitable processing technologies, modelling for future energy scenarios, and techno-economic assessments.

Storing hydrogen in natural gas reservoirs

The forerunners of this project – Underground Sun Storage and Underground Sun Conversion – demonstrated that gas reservoirs can cope well with hydrogen content of up to 20%.

The Underground Sun Storage 2030 project takes the initiative a step further by building on these findings. Experiments in the laboratory have shown that the hydrogen content can be increased to 100%. We are now carrying out a field trial to gain new insights into the storage of hydrogen produced from solar and wind power in former gas reservoirs. Different options for the use of stored hydrogen will be analysed in collaboration with high-profile partners from industry and the Austrian research community.