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At What Cost Can Renewable Hydrogen Offset Fossil Fuel Use in Ireland’s Gas Network?


The results of a techno-economic model of distributed wind-hydrogen systems (WHS) located at each existing wind farm on the island of Ireland are presented in this paper. Hydrogen is produced by water electrolysis from wind energy and backed up by grid electricity, compressed before temporarily stored, then transported to the nearest injection location on the natural gas network. The model employs a novel correlation-based approach to select an optimum electrolyser capacity that generates a minimum levelised cost of hydrogen production (LCOH) for each WHS. Three scenarios of electrolyser operation are studied: (1) curtailed wind, (2) available wind, and (3) full capacity operations. Additionally, two sets of input parameters are used: (1) current and (2) future techno-economic parameters. Additionally, two electricity prices are considered: (1) low and (2) high prices. A closest facility algorithm in a geographic information system (GIS) package identifies the shortest routes from each WHS to its nearest injection point. By using current parameters, results show that small wind farms are not suitable to run electrolysers under available wind operation. They must be run at full capacity to achieve sufficiently low LCOH. At full capacity, the future average LCOH is 6–8 €/kg with total hydrogen production capacity of 49 kilotonnes per year, or equivalent to nearly 3% of Irish natural gas consumption. This potential will increase significantly due to the projected expansion of installed wind capacity in Ireland from 5 GW in 2020 to 10 GW in 2030

Funding source: This research received financial support from the GENCOMM project (GENerating energy secure COMMunities through smart renewable hydrogen) funded by EU Interreg Northwest Europe programme (project number NWE334).
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Denmark ; Ireland

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