ESB plans green hydrogen storage project off Cork coast

12 Aug 2021

The Old Head of Kinsale. Image: © Hugh/Stock.adobe.com

The green hydrogen project at Kinsale Head could store the equivalent of 10pc of Ireland’s annual electricity consumption.

ESB and energy company DCarbonX are planning to develop a large-scale green hydrogen storage project off the coast of Co Cork, with the aim of transforming the recently decommissioned Kinsale Head gas field in the Celtic Sea.

The project has the potential to store up to 3TWh of green hydrogen and hydrogen carriers, which is enough to power around 10pc of Ireland’s current annual electricity consumption.

Pending licence and planning approvals, the development will expand on a partnership announced in May between the two energy companies, which aims to identify and develop offshore storage opportunities in Ireland.

Padraig O’Hiceadha, strategy manager at ESB, said the latest project is a milestone in ESB’s plan to explore hydrogen production and storage opportunities in Ireland.

“Mirroring developments across Europe and globally, ESB recognises the role hydrogen will play in enabling a low-carbon future,” he added.

“Transforming sites – such as the recently decommissioned gas reservoirs at Kinsale Head – and repurposing reservoirs for green hydrogen can deliver large-scale sustainable energy storage for homes and businesses in the future.”

ESB also plans to develop a green hydrogen facility at its Moneypoint site in Co Clare.

Cork as a green hydrogen hub

ESB and DCarbonX said an evaluation of the former gas field reservoir was conducted earlier this year to determine whether it was fit for turning into a green hydrogen storage facility. Work has been underway since then, including subsurface analysis, mineralogy, drilling evaluation and monitoring.

“The Kinsale Head reservoirs hosted safe, secure and reliable offshore natural gas subsurface energy storage for many years, underpinning Ireland’s security of gas supply,” said Dr John O’Sullivan, COO of DCarbonX.

“As subsurface lead for the original natural gas storage development, the dCarbonX and ESB partnership is optimally positioned to repurpose and develop these reservoirs for green hydrogen storage.”

He added that Kinsale Head is the third Irish offshore location that DCarbonX and ESB are assessing for green hydrogen storage, with further updates to be provided soon.

Co Cork has become a prime destination for renewable energy projects and investments because of its vast natural harbour, strong transport connectivity and infrastructure.

In May, energy company EI-H2 announced plans to build a €120m electrolysis plant in Aghada, Co Cork, which would be Ireland’s first green hydrogen facility and create more than 85 jobs. Last month, the company also announced a 3.2GW energy facility in Bantry Bay to produce green hydrogen.

Vish Gain is a journalist and copywriter with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com