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Long-Term Hydrogen Storage—A Case Study Exploring Pathways and Investments


Future low-carbon systems with very high shares of variable renewable generation require complex models to optimise investments and operations, which must capture high degrees of sector coupling, contain high levels of operational and temporal detail, and when considering seasonal storage, be able to optimise both investments and operations over long durations. Standard energy system models often do not adequately address all these issues, which are of great importance when considering investments in emerging energy carriers such as Hydrogen. An advanced energy system model of the Irish power system is built in SpineOpt, which considers a number of future scenarios and explores different pathways to the wide-scale adoption of Hydrogen as a low-carbon energy carrier. The model contains a high degree of both temporal and operational detail, sector coupling, via Hydrogen, is captured and the optimisation of both investments in and operation of large-scale underground Hydrogen storage is demonstrated. The results highlight the importance of model detail and demonstrate how over-investment in renewables occur when the flexibility needs of the system are not adequately captured. The case study shows that in 2030, investments in Hydrogen technologies are limited to scenarios with high fuel and carbon costs, high levels of Hydrogen demand (in this case driven by heating demand facilitated by large Hydrogen networks) or when a breakthrough in electrolyser capital costs and efficiencies occurs. However high levels of investments in Hydrogen technologies occur by 2040 across all considered scenarios. As with the 2030 results, the highest level of investments occur when demand for Hydrogen is high, albeit at a significantly higher level than 2030 with increases in investments of large-scale electrolysers of 538%. Hydrogen fuelled compressed air energy storage emerges as a strong investment candidate across all scenarios, facilitating cost effective power-to-Hydrogen-to-power conversions.

Funding source: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 774629.
Countries: Ireland

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