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Electrochemical Hydrogen Production Powered by PVCSP Hybrid Power Plants A Modelling Approach for Cost Optimal System Design


Global trade of green hydrogen will probably become a vital factor in reaching climate neutrality. The sunbelt of the Earth has a great potential for large-scale hydrogen production. One promising pathway to solar hydrogen is to use economically priced electricity from photovoltaics (PV) for electrochemical water splitting. However, storing electricity with batteries is still expensive and without storage only a small operating capacity of electrolyser systems can be reached. Combining PV with concentrated solar power (CSP) and thermal energy storage (TES) seems a good pathway to reach more electrolyser full load hours and thereby lower levelized costs of hydrogen (LCOH). This work introduces an energy system model for finding cost-optimal designs of such PV/CSP hybrid hydrogen production plants based on a global optimization algorithm. The model includes an operational strategy which improves the interplay between PV and CSP part, allowing also to store PV surplus electricity as heat. An exemplary study for stand-alone hydrogen production with an alkaline electrolyser (AEL) system is carried out. Three different locations with different solar resources are considered, regarding the total installed costs (TIC) to obtain realistic LCOH values. The study shows that a combination of PV and CSP is an auspicious concept for large-scale solar hydrogen production, leading to lower costs than using one of the technologies on its own. For today’s PV and CSP costs, minimum levelized costs of hydrogen of 4.04 USD/kg were determined for a plant located in Ouarzazate (Morocco). Considering the foreseen decrease in PV and CSP costs until 2030, cuts the LCOH to 3.09 USD/kg while still a combination of PV and CSP is the most economic system.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Germany

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