20.05.2022

Geological energy storage. The AGH UST co-implements a project for the European Space Agency


The photo shows two oil pumps working in a deserted district under the moonlight.

Author: ssuaphotos; source: Shutterstock

Can geological formations be used to store energy on Earth and other planets? Are such geological energy storage facilities an opportunity for the Polish energy transformation and space colonisation? These are the questions that the AGH UST and the Astronika company (consortium leader) are diving into as part of the GeoStorage project, carried out for the European Space Agency (ESA).

The objective of GeoStorage is to conduct technical and economic analyses of the possibilities to use salt caverns or exploited hydrocarbon reservoirs as energy storage spaces, playing a strategic role in the Polish energy transformation.

The AGH UST scientists will focus on determining the potential of underground energy storage, coming from renewable energy sources, in cooperation with the Polish energy grid, as well as the possibility of transfer of technology in terms of geological reservoirs to extraterrestrial conditions.

The “space path”, led by Astronika, will focus on analysing the use of geological energy storage under planetary conditions, such as the polar regions of the Moon, where we plan to build permanent scientific, commercial and mining outposts. The key will be to adapt the best Earth practices and technologies to extreme and largely unidentified surface and geological conditions outside the Earth.

‘GeoStorage will allow us not only to aid in the process of energy transformation in Poland with innovative and tailor-made solutions, but also to create entirely new concepts of using space resources. This is a comprehensive action for our future,’ says project leader Gordon Wasilewski, DSc, a Faculty of Drilling, Oil, and Gas alumnus.

‘We’re using years worth of experience in geological and reservoir analysis for the oil industry with a view to climate change and advanced programmes of planetary exploration – this is an extremely interesting opportunity that the ESA has offered’, adds Dr hab. Paweł Wojnarowski, AGH UST Professor from the Faculty of Drilling, Oil, and Gas, leader of the AGH UST team and the head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering.

The consortium members want to include Polish power and mining companies and public administration into the process of co-creating the solutions for the energy transformation in the wake of dynamic climate and geopolitical changes.

The results of the GeoStorage project will be available to the public in the first half of 2023.