This project is based on the “Underground Sun Conversion” (USC) technology developed by RAG Austria AG in collaboration with the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), and represents the next step in implementing this new, innovative and unique storage technology.
“Underground Sun Conversion” involves injecting CO2 and H2 into a porous underground gas storage facility (a depleted gas reservoir), where microbial methanation has been found to occur, meaning the biological conversion of CO2 and H2 to methane, the main component of natural gas. This storage technology enables seasonal storage of large volumes of energy in the form of renewable gas. This will not only enhance the stability of European energy networks and energy supply, but is also essential for ensuring that the continent's energy mix includes a higher proportion of (gaseous) renewables.
The project will provide a first estimation of the potential for geological storage of energy in Switzerland using the "USC FlexStore" approach. This process serves as a blueprint for future expansion to other regions around the world, and in turn as a model for the internationalisation of the concept.
In line with European initiatives intended to promote sector coupling and the integration of electricity and gas grids, with a view to making the energy system more stable and flexible, the “USC-FlexStore” project is designed to contribute to achieving the overarching goals of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan and the ETIP SNET (European Technology and Innovation Platform – Smart Networks for the Energy Transition).
This project is funded under the Joint Programming Initiative "ERA-Net Smart Energy Systems" under the priority "Integrated Regional Energy Systems" with support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 775970. The Austrian participation in the ERA-Net Smart Energy Systems is funded by the “Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz” (BMK) and the "Klima und Energiefonds" while the Switzerland based contribution receives funds of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.