How will the gas storage cavities be created?
The cavities would be created using a solution mining process, which is the process of using water to extract brine from salt rock. Once cavities have been formed and are the correct size and shape for the storage of gas, any residual brine will be removed and replaced with gas. During cavity development, the shape of the cavity is controlled using a layer of nitrogen and monitored by sonar surveys.
What happens to the brine after it is removed from the cavities?
The brine would be sent to the existing brine reservoirs at Lostock Hollows, south of Lostock Gralam, Northwich. From there, the brine would be sent for purification at Lostock Works to remove trace impurities in the form of a white solid known as ‘brine mud’ in preparation for distribution to customers. This purified brine would then be sent to customers such as the INOVYN site in Runcorn, to produce chemicals such as chlorine for water treatment and salt for use in food.
Although most of the brine produced by the KGSP will be used by INOVYN and its customers, some of the brine that is not required may be disposed into the Weaver Navigation or Manchester Ship Canal. INOVYN Enterprises already has the necessary permits to do this under a process regulated by the Environment Agency.
Why are you planning to store hydrogen rather than natural gas?
Hydrogen is a game-changing source of energy that can be used as both a raw material for industry and as a clean power source for transport, industry, business and the home.
The project will underpin Britain’s energy security and support the Government’s ambitions to ramp up hydrogen use as a clean fuel to enable us to meet legally binding targets to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Government recently doubled the amount of hydrogen it wants to see produced in the UK by 2030.
In order to facilitate hydrogen being used as a clean fuel in the UK, storage will be essential to respond quickly to peaks in demand. Currently, hydrogen cannot be stored in the national transmission system at the scale that natural gas can.
The North West is seen as a key location for hydrogen production and carbon capture, partly due to its natural assets and partly due to the significant presence of established, energy intensive industries that need to cut their carbon emissions.
It is planned for the KGSP to connect to HyNet North West – the regional hydrogen and carbon capture project planned to produce, store and transport hydrogen around the North West – helping to decarbonise our industries from the mid-2020s. By 2030, HyNet will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10 million tonnes every year, the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road.
What changes are you proposing to the consented KSGP project to allow you to store hydrogen?
In reality, the changes to the Project are minor in nature. The original consent states that the cavities will be used to store natural gas. The main change is ensuring that the consent states hydrogen can also be stored in the cavities.
The location, amount, size and construction method of the 19 cavities is not planned to change.
The changes we plan to request are:
- Amendment of the definition of ‘gas’ to include ‘hydrogen’
- Amendment to reference of ‘National Grid’s National Transmission System’, to give greater flexibility to connect to both the national system and any future hydrogen network
- Relocation of the planned office building
- An option to include an alternative location of the planned gas connection compound