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Future Cost and Performance of Water Electrolysis: An Expert Elicitation Study

Abstract

The need for energy storage to balance intermittent and inflexible electricity supply with demand is driving interest in conversion of renewable electricity via electrolysis into a storable gas. But, high capital cost and uncertainty regarding future cost and performance improvements are barriers to investment in water electrolysis. Expert elicitations can support decision-making when data are sparse and their future development uncertain. Therefore, this study presents expert views on future capital cost, lifetime and efficiency for three electrolysis technologies: alkaline (AEC), proton exchange membrane (PEMEC) and solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC). Experts estimate that increased R&D funding can reduce capital costs by 0–24%, while production scale-up alone has an impact of 17–30%. System lifetimes may converge at around 60,000–90,000 h and efficiency improvements will be negligible. In addition to innovations on the cell-level, experts highlight improved production methods to automate manufacturing and produce higher quality components. Research into SOECs with lower electrode polarisation resistance or zero-gap AECs could undermine the projected dominance of PEMEC systems. This study thereby reduces barriers to investment in water electrolysis and shows how expert elicitations can help guide near-term investment, policy and research efforts to support the development of electrolysis for low-carbon energy systems.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: United Kingdom
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/content/journal1249
2017-11-22
2022-12-01
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journal1249
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