Solvay to provide clean energy storage to address renewable electricity intermittency
Solvay’s salt caverns offer a large-scale, long-duration and readily dispatchable solution for clean energy storage - in the form of compressed air or hydrogen - that will play a vital role in the European energy transition.
Solvay has signed an Option Agreement to provide 4 salt caverns to Corre Energy who will develop a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES)1 facility. These 4 caverns are located in Solvay’s flagship brine field in Epe2, Germany and they will be allocated to Corre Energy until 2069 with first handover in 2027. The site will store up to 80 GWh of clean energy in the form of compressed air with 640 MW of installed generation capacity. The partnership with Corre Energy is a key milestone in Solvay’s roadmap to make additional salt caverns available for clean energy storage.
New forms of clean energy storage, like compressed air or hydrogen, are required for the European energy transition as more intermittent renewable electricity will integrate the energy mix. For hydrogen alone, according to a study carried out by Gas Infrastructure Europe in 2021, Europe will run out of storage capacity by 2030 - a maximum of 50TWh will be available whereas 72TWh will be required.
Salt caverns can store hundreds of GWh of energy, for long-duration ranging from days to months, offering much larger capacity than any battery nowadays3. Due to their configuration, they can be filled and emptied very fast, and this provides a good solution for renewable electricity intermittency.
“We are delighted to partner with Corre Energy to give a second life to our salt caverns as clean energy storage,” said Philippe Kehren, President of Solvay’s Soda Ash & Derivatives business. “Salt caverns are a key enabler for a successful energy transition journey. We salute Corre Energy for acting at the right time considering that it takes up to 10 years to fully develop salt caverns for storage purposes. We count on European governments, especially those involved in the development of Hydrogen, to support such initiatives that shall be launched now in order to meet the future European needs for clean energy storage.”
“This landmark agreement adds a key market to our portfolio and doubles our capacity in Europe,” said Keith McGrane, CEO of Corre Energy. “The site will be ready for adoption within three years and early discussions show there is very strong customer demand, buoyed by the proximity of the caverns to the grid. Our team of experts will work closely with Solvay, future partners and all relevant stakeholders to bring forward this major new storage solution as we support the global transition to clean energy."
1Compressed Air Energy Storage consists in converting excess energy into potential energy by pumping compressed air into a cavern. The stored energy is released by expanding the compressed air through a turbine to generate electricity.
2Solvay owns majority share in the Epe brine field, together with Covestro and Vestolit
3The largest battery projects count on 1 to 2 GWh storage capacity for a few hours
Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 22,000 employees in 61 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet roadmap crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €13.4 billion in 2022. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (SOLB). Learn more at www.solvay.com.
Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives is a global business division of Solvay. As a world leader in its markets, it provides a global, secured and sustainable supply of soda ash to its customers manufacturing glass for building, automotive, solar panels and packaging applications, as well as detergents and chemicals. It also develops solutions based on sodium bicarbonate for the health care, food, animal feed and flue gas cleaning markets. Solvay Soda Ash & Derivatives has 11 industrial sites worldwide, more than 3,200 employees and serves 120 countries.