Energy storage has a crucial role to play in both the management of energy supply and in the wider uptake of renewable energy technologies in the future. Some technologies provide short-term energy storage, while others can endure for much longer. There are many different types of energy storage; mechanical storage, such as compressed air storage in underground reservoirs (e.g., salt caverns); thermal storage, such as heat storage in geological structures or abandoned mines; electrochemical storage, such as using batteries to store energy; and chemical storage, such as via hydrogen generation and storage in deep geological reservoirs or salt caverns.
For energy storage, the subsurface needs to provide thermal insulation and allow for efficient retrieval, which requires good storage integrity, robustness of the system to repeated loading and unloading and confidence that the system will not fail in a way that adversely affects the system. Quintessa’s capabilities relate primarily to risk assessment of the storage integrity as well as the coupled thermo-hydraulic-mechanical-chemical processes occurring in the subsurface. This builds on the work that Quintessa carried out for the Health and Safety Executive on scoping calculations for release from potential UK underground gas storage facilities in salt caverns and depleted oil/gas reservoirs, and subsequent work on reservoir storage for a commercial natural gas operator. Quintessa also contributed to the AkzoNobel’s Pilot Cavern Stabilisation Twente (PSCT) project by assessing the risks that would be associated with stabilising unstable salt caverns in the Twente region of the Netherlands.
Quintessa has also supported the HyStorPor project via the industrial advisory board role to help investigate the fundamental questions of what happens when hydrogen is being injected and withdrawn from subsurface reservoirs.