Carbon capture and storage

Partners Align in Underground Storage Consortium

The group of three companies says it is looking to provide solutions for a more alternative-energy-driven landscape.

The Underground Sun Storage project in Austria.
Credit: UEST.

A trio of European contractors have joined forces in a consortium designed to advance strategic solutions for underground storage for natural gas, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen.

Underground Energy Storage Technologies (UEST) brings together expertise from HOT Energy Group, RED Drilling and Services, and Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz in a partnership focused on all phases of underground storage, from prospect assessment and operational planning, drilling, workover and well engineering solutions all the way through to surface facilities.

“The UEST consortium is a center of excellence and trusted partner for underground storage developers and operations, as it builds on decades of expertise and offers a well-rounded service portfolio,” said Diethard Kratzer, chief executive of HOT Energy Group.

UEST said it aims at accelerating the implementation of hydrogen and carbon dioxide storage operations to support the energy transition toward a low-/zero-carbon economy.

The partners have each contributed to several unique projects in the past, including storage of solar-generated hydrogen in a depleted Austrian gas field as well as the Haidach project, the second-largest gas storage facility in Central Europe with total storage capacity of 2.9 Bcm of natural gas.

The solar project, dubbed Underground Sun Storage, creates renewable natural gas in a natural gas field through a microbiological process called methanation from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The process is touted as carbon neutral.

The renewable gas can be stored in the same reservoir, withdrawn as needed at any time, and transported to consumers via the existing pipeline network.

The Underground Sun Conversion project is being carried out by an Austrian consortium and supported as part of the energy research program of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund as a flagship project. The research project should be completed this year.