As the use of hydrogen gas (H2) as a renewable energy carrier experiences a major boost, one of the key challenges for a constant supply is safe and cost-efficient storage of surplus H2 to bridge periods with low energy demand. For this purpose, underground gas storage (UGS) in salt caverns, deep aquifers and depleted oil-/gas reservoirs has been proposed, which provide suitable environments with potentially high microbial abundance and activity. Subsurface microorganisms can use H2 in their metabolism and thus may lead to a variety of undesired side effects such as H2 loss into formation, H2S build up, methane formation, acid formation, clogging and corrosion.

We present a new AI framework for the determination of metabolism processes of subsurface microorganisms in hydrogen underground storage. The AI framework enables to determine the potential microbial related processes and reactions in order to optimize storage strategies as well as incorporate potential remediating actions to ensure efficient and safe underground hydrogen storage and minimize related side effects.

We evaluated the framework on investigating potential microbial reactions for hydrogen storage in the Pohokura gas field in New Zealand. The framework evaluates reservoir parameters, such as temperature, pressure, salinity and hydrogen injection volumes as well as duration, and then classifies which reactions may take place as well as indicates the likelihood of the reaction taking place. For the deep learning framework, an optimized random forest algorithm was implemented and compared to other multi-class classification problems. The results demonstrated the ability to determine the microbial reactions that may take place with hydrogen storage reservoir as well as its severity, which enhances the optimization of injection strategy as well as suitability of a reservoir.

This framework represents an innovative approach to microbial reaction prediction for underground hydrogen storage. The framework allows potential reservoirs to be efficiently evaluated and optimization strategies to be utilized in order to maximize the efficiency of underground hydrogen storage.

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