A UK consortium has been awarded £7.7 million (US$9.3 million) from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to develop a hydrogen storage demonstrator, in which hydrogen is absorbed on a depleted uranium bed, which can then release the hydrogen when needed for use. The consortium includes the University of Bristol, EDF UK, UKAEA and Urenco.
When stored, the hydrogen is in a stable but reversible metal hydride form. The depleted uranium material is available from recycling and has been used in other applications such as counterbalance weights on aircraft.
This hydrogen storage approach is aimed at longer-term energy storage, and will enable improvements in energy storage density.
This EDF-led consortium will develop this pilot-scale HyDUS (Hydrogen in Depleted Uranium Storage) demonstrator as part of the Longer Duration Energy Storage demonstrator program at the UKAEA’s Culham Campus.
This will be a world first technology demonstrator which is a beautiful and exciting translation of a well proven fusion-fuel hydrogen isotope storage technology that the UK Atomic Energy Authority has used for several decades at a small scale. The hydride compounds that we’re using can chemically store hydrogen at ambient pressure and temperature but remarkably they do this at twice the density of liquid hydrogen. The material can also quickly give-up the stored hydrogen simply by heating it, which makes it a wonderfully reversible hydrogen storage technology.—Professor Tom Scott from the University of Bristol’s School of Physics and one of the architects of the HyDUStechnology
Banos, A., & Scott , T. B. (Accepted/In press). Validating the Nuclear Option for Hydrogen Storage. (Conference paper)