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19 October 2023

HYBRIT: Hydrogen storage reduces costs by up to 40 percent

HYBRIT's hydrogen storage has now been tested commercially in the electricity market. By adding storage, the variable cost of hydrogen production can be significantly reduced, by between 25 and 40 percent.

HYBRIT: Hydrogen storage reduces costs by up to 40 percent
HYBRIT pilot plant start-up. Photo: HYBRIT

The hydrogen storage was used for about one month directly towards the electricity market. The task was to produce hydrogen from fossil-free electricity with a variable electricity price at as low a cost as possible, for example during certain parts of the day or during longer periods with good access to weather-dependent electricity production. The hydrogen was delivered in a steady flow to SSAB.

"Although Vattenfall's optimization of trading and operation against real electricity prices was carried out during a period with low price variations, the results were very good. The tests have been conducted in close cooperation between Hybrit Development and Vattenfall and by doing it for real, we were able to follow in real time how much money was saved by using the storage," says Marie Anheden, senior project manager at HYBRIT.

All research campaigns on the hydrogen storage facility, which is located next to HYBRIT's pilot plant for fossil-free iron in Luleå, have so far shown promising results. The design itself has proven to be well suited for rapid emptying and filling mixed with periods of lower activity. The latest campaign to reduce the price of hydrogen production used a simulation tool, a new optimization model and the 100 cubic meter pilot hydrogen storage facility in Luleå.

"These are exciting and important results because hydrogen from fossil-free electricity is one of the keys to the industry's transition. Large-scale hydrogen storage makes it possible to adapt electricity use in an electricity system with varying supply and prices, while the industry can be supplied with hydrogen in a more stable and cost-effective way. Used on a large scale, hydrogen storage can have a dampening effect on electricity price variations, which would benefit investments in new electricity generation from all fossil-free power sources," says Mikael Nordlander, Head of Vattenfall's Industrial Partnerships.

"LKAB will convert the entire production of iron ore products to fossil-free sponge iron produced with hydrogen, so these are very important results for us. We will need to produce more than one million tons of hydrogen and consume more than 70 TWh of fossil-free electricity per year when we have converted our entire operation in 2050. It is therefore absolutely necessary to reduce costs," says Stefan Savonen, energy and climate manager at LKAB.

"It is gratifying that the HYBRIT collaboration has resulted in another positive result that we can now showcase. The research gives us security and confidence to continue developing a fossil-free value chain together with Vattenfall and LKAB, and the hydrogen storage facility and the fossil-free energy supply are of course important parts of the whole," says Tomas Hirsch, Energy Director at SSAB.


  • The test: The hydrogen production of a maximum of about 5 MW was bid into the electricity market daily by Vattenfall and the production plan was then sent to Hybrit.
  • The hydrogen storage facility was first put into operation in the summer of 2022 and the tests will continue until 2024.
  • The storage facility is testing hydrogen storage with known technology, called LRC (Lined Rock Cavern).
  • The fossil-free hydrogen (green hydrogen) is produced by water electrolysis with fossil-free electricity on the HYBRIT pilot.
  • The storage is a 100 cubic meter pilot plant and contains hydrogen pressurized up to 250 bar. At full scale, potentially 100,000-120,000 m3 storing 100 GWh of electricity converted to hydrogen, it is enough for a full-sized steel plant's production for up to four days.
  • The pilot storage facility, a steel-clad rock cavern, is located about 30 meters from the ground surface and about 100 meters in via a connecting tunnel.
  • Vattenfall, SSAB and LKAB have invested SEK 200 million (shared equally between the owner companies) and the Swedish Energy Agency has supported the project with just over SEK 52 million via Industriklivet.