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First preparatory leak test and material tests


H2CAST Etzel: First preparatory leak test and material tests with hydrogen at cavern in Etzel

  • Another milestone reached in the research project to convert existing caverns for hydrogen use
  • 280 kilograms of "green" hydrogen were injected into an existing cavern
  • Overall project manager Carsten Reekers, STORAG ETZEL: "The current leak test with hydrogen is the prelude to practical application research at the Etzel cavern field"


Friedeburg-Etzel, 02.12.2022 - As part of the H2CAST Etzel research project, STORAG ETZEL GMBH, together with its project partners, has started the first gas tightness test using hydrogen at a cavern in Etzel. Extensive material tests were carried out in preparation for the test. A total of 280 kilograms of gaseous hydrogen, from sustainable, "green" production, was introduced into the project cavern.

This test has several objectives:

  • It is to prove that the cavern and the more than one-kilometre-long borehole - before the steps that now follow to convert it into a hydrogen storage facility - are leak-proof.
  • It should provide insights into the extent to which the current results with hydrogen can be compared with standardised results under nitrogen.

This first operational test in the Etzel cavern field should also clarify how the practical handling of hydrogen compares with the handling of natural gas, which has been tried and tested for decades. For this purpose, extensive theoretical and practical training sessions with experts were held on site with all the staff involved in the H2CAST Etzel research project. The test procedures with hydrogen were analysed and optimised from a safety point of view.

The first results of the test, which lasted several weeks, are promising. However, it is still too early to make a final statement: "At the Etzel site, hydrogen was introduced into a cavern for the first time. So far, we have been able to obtain positive results from the test procedure. Further investigations and measurements will follow in the course of the leak test. Final results will be available by the end of the year," says Carsten Reekers, overall project manager of H2CAST Etzel. 

"We are very motivated to carry out these tests on our hydrogen storage facilities and thus gain experience and knowledge in storage with hydrogen as a future energy carrier. The current leak test is the prelude to practical application research at the Etzel cavern field!", Reekers continues.

The leak test with hydrogen is part of the measure "Assessment of the condition of existing caverns" of the research project H2CAST-Ready for the conversion of caverns for hydrogen storage, which is funded by the state of Lower Saxony. In the course of the coming year, the next tasks will be worked on with great commitment before the hydrogen completion is installed in the first well from the second half of 2023. This phase will be accompanied by further intensive testing by the H2CAST team.

Further project partners of the project are:

  • DEEP.KBB GmbH, Bad Zwischenahn
  • Hartmann Valves GmbH, Burgdorf
  • SOCON Sonar Control Kavernenvermessung GmbH, Giesen
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V, Köln
  • Technische Universität Clausthal, Clausthal-Zellerfeld


Further information on STORAG ETZEL and the hydrogen project can be found at www.storag-etzel.de/en.