The natural gas we use today formed millions of years ago, and is extracted from wells deep underground. This process is being replicated as part of a fascinating research project, with natural gas produced in underground pore storage facilities.
Launched in 2017, Underground Sun Conversion has the same aim as the Underground Sun Storage research project which began four years earlier: the production of natural gas. In the pilot project, electricity was converted into gas that was then stored in naturally formed gas reservoirs (more details on the process can be found in the section on power-to-gas). The follow-on project goes a step further.
Geological history in fast motion
Hydrogen from renewable sources (produced at a power-to-gas plant) is injected into gas reservoirs together with carbon dioxide (CO2). Over 1,000 metres below ground, microorganisms use it to produce renewable natural gas which can be stored in the reservoir and withdrawn as required. The natural gas formation process is replicated and significantly shortened: instead of millions of years, the process lasts only a matter of weeks.
Pioneering Austrian expertise
Initiated by Rohöl-Aufsuchungs Aktiengesellschaft (RAG), the project has been implemented together with a number of partners. As with biogas and power-to-gas facilities, the key advantage of Underground Sun Conversion is the ability to use existing, highly developed gas infrastructure, which helps to avoid unnecessary investment.
For further details, visit www.underground-sun-conversion.at.