Numerical modelling of underground hydrogen storage

The potential storage capacity of hydrogen in the subsurface – e.g. in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline aquifers – is very large and can be used for underground hydrogen storage. While one can transfer know-how and technology from natural gas storage and underground carbon storage, some of the challenges underground hydrogen storage faces are different. Compared to subsurface water, hydrogen has a very low density and viscosity. Consequently, a hydrogen plume will experience strong buoyancy forces (i.e. high leakage potential). In addition, water upconing towards the extraction borehole can occur. This could lead to the influx of water into the borehole. Further, some stored hydrogen will remain underground, trapped by capillary forces. The cyclic injection/extraction process leads to a constant alternation between drainage (gas displaces water) and imbibition (water displaces gas), potentially increasing the trapping of hydrogen. These research topics are being investigated with the aid of numerical simulations at the Chair of Hydromechanics.

Underground hydrogen storage

The conceptual illustration shows a H2 plume in an underground reservoir. The diagrams (A) and (B) show the fluid distribution in the pores at different locations. (A) Ideally, the H2 plume displaces most or all of the mobile formation water. (B) H2 bubbles are trapped and immobilised by capillary forces.

Funding: Internal funding of chair; since 01.08.2021

Researcher: Diya Sunil Kumbhat; PI: Anozie Ebigbo

Project-related presentations:

  • Kumbhat, D. : Impact of Relative Permeability Hysteresis on Underground Hydrogen Storage. Poster presentation at the 15th Annual Meeting of InterPore, May 2023, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Kumbhat, D: Impact of Relative Permeability Hysteresis on Underground Hydrogen Storage, Oral presentation at Energy & Mobility Colloquium, November 2023, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg, Germany.


Letzte Änderung: 30. November 2023