Gesteinslabor receives funding grant for the development of a novel test rig to determine capillary threshold pressure with hydrogen

19.05.2021

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has approved funding to the Gesteinslabor for the development of an innovative test rig as part of the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM). With this funding, we plan to develop a technology that can be used to determine the capillary threshold pressure with hydrogen on shales/cap rock and thus sustainably open up a new business field in renewable energies.

Hydrogen will be indispensable as an energy carrier for implementing the energy transition in Germany and Europe. In addition to salt caverns, pore storage facilities in the deep underground (UGS)  - former hydrocarbon reservoirs -  are particularly suitable for storing large quantities of hydrogen. However, the interactions between hydrogen and the cap rock have not yet been adequately studied. The aim of the funded project is to develop a testing technique that can be used to experimentally determine the interaction between the seal of a reservoir and hydrogen under simulated reservoir conditions. One of the three central criteria for evaluating the site safety and integrity of the top layer of such a reservoir is, in addition to strength and stress fields, the capillary threshold pressure of the cap rock. This characteristic value is to be determined with the projected test rig under realistic environmental conditions.

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In September 2019 the Swiss National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) commisioned Gesteinslabor with UCS, Brazilian and triaxial tests on neighbouring rocks of the Opalinus Clay - the rock which will host Switzerland's future facilities for nuclear waste disposal.

Gesteinslabor receives funding from BMWi for the development of a new test rig. With this funding, our company will open up a new business field in renewable energies by implementing an innovative technology to determine the capillary threshold pressure with hydrogen on cap rock of underground gas storage facilities.