ET.20.021 – De-risking subsurface hydrogen storage: mineral and microbial reactivity

Route: Energy transition

Cluster question: 026 How can we store, convert, and transport energy efficiently?

Hydrogen starts playing an important role in the energy transition and society. Hydrogen gas storage in geological reservoirs is a scalable option for energy storage from intermittent renewable sources. Possible threats to the viability of this process include microbial and mineral reactions that use hydrogen and contaminate the stored gas with hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methane and carbon dioxide. Specifically, H2S as a toxic and highly corrosive gas must be removed from the mixture, increasing the costs and security of hydrogen storage.
Hydrogen is an excellent substrate for sulfate-reducing microbes (producing H2S) and methanogenic (producing methane) microbes. However, it is unclear how microbial competition will progress in the reservoir conditions and the consequences for hydrogen consumption and generation of contaminants. Potential mineral reactions include the dissolution of pyrite and reduction of iron oxides that consume hydrogen and release H2S. Kinetic data required to model and de-risk these processes are scarce especially at high pressures and elevated temperatures in situ.
This project aims to 4 categories: (1) microbiology: study kinetics, yields and stoichiometries of hydrogen-utilizing microbial groups under relevant storage conditions (high pressure/ temperature) at Wageningen University; (2) chemistry: characterize the relevant kinetic rates of mineral reactions in terms of activation energy, kinetic rates and its temperature and pH dependence at high H2 pressures, Utrecht University; (3) geosciences: derive rate laws for the reactions obtained from (1) and (2), implement these into a reactive transport simulation to predict the evolution of produced gas composition over time, TU Delft, and (4) application: facilitate integration into a knowledge base and application framework for subsurface hydrogen storage and dissemination to a wider audience, TNO. This multidisciplinary work will be a crucial step for early de-risking of subsurface hydrogen storage as an energy storage technology, that will be key in a net zero-carbon emissions world.


energy storage, gas fields, geochemistry, Hydrogen, kinetic rates, microbial, mineral reactions, modelling, reservoir

Other organisations

Shell, TNO, Utrecht University (UU), Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation TU Delft (TUD)
Name Dr. D.V. (Denis) Voskov