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Advertising division: IEK-3 - Electrochemical Process Engineering
Reference number: 2019M-079, Environmental engineering, energy engineering, sustainable energy supply, georesources engineering

Master thesis: Environmental Assessment of Salt Caverns for Hydrogen Storage

Start of work: at once/by arrangement

In the light of shrinking fossil energy reserves and the international climate protection goals a further massive expansion of renewable energies (wind turbines and photovoltaic power plants in particular) is considered as indispensable. Their fluctuating occurrence requires further developed solutions of energy storage on an industrial scale. For this purpose the conversion of electricity to hydrogen by means of electrolysis, also referred to as Power-to-Gas, offers a promising technical solution by which reductions of carbon dioxide in further energy sectors such as the transport sector can be achieved at the same time. Thereby the usage of hydrogen is very promising to store fluctuating renewable energy.

At the IEK-3 national and international energy concepts are developed to convert surplus energy from intermittent renewable energy sources into hydrogen and transfer it to other energy sectors like mobility or industry. In the second institute, IEK-STE, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of energy technologies is performed to assess whether a technology is still climate friendly when all materials and fuels are taken into account. In this regard, an international hydrogen infrastructure is of vital significance. Due to an imbalance between regions with energy excess and regions with a higher energy demand, an interregional solution is required to achieve an economically reasonable usage of hydrogen. For this purpose underground cavities are regarded to be promising facilities for long-term hydrogen storage. During the construction of underground cavities, however, large amount of brine are produced and its deposal can lead to massive disruptions in ecosystems.

Your task
Within the scope of this thesis, the environmental impacts of salt caverns for seasonal storage of hydrogen in Germany is investigated. For this purpose, influences of storage capacity, cavern construction methods and absorption capacities of ecosystems for the brine have to be analyzed. The following tasks are to be dealt with in the course of this thesis:

  • Getting familiar with salt cavern construction methods,
  • Developing an approach to estimate the brine amount and its content (i.e. concentration of hydrogen and other species),
  • Identification of the methods regarding brine disposal as well as regulations,
  • Comparison of cavern construction and brine disposal methods by means of their environmental and economic impacts by applying Life Cycle Assessment.

Your profile

  • Very good academic records in environmental engineering, environmental sciences, sustainable energy supply, georesources engineering or a comparable field
  • Interest in underground storage technologies, especially in salt caverns
  • High individual motivation, good analytical skills and fluent command of English
  • Knowledge about Life Cycle Assessment and German are welcomed

Our offer

  • A pleasant working environment within a highly competent, international team in one of the most prestigious research facilities in Europe
  • You will be remunerated, supported by top-end scientific and technical infrastructure as well as closely guided by experts
  • You will have the opportunity to work with keen researchers from various scientific fields and be part of designing the future European energy system

Dilara Caglayan
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Institute of Electrochemical Process Engineering (IEK-3)
52425 Jülich

Tel. 02461 61 5396

Dr. Christina Wulf
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation (IEK-STE)
52425 Jülich

Tel. 02461 61 3268