Hydrogen-based Systems for Integration of Renewable Energy in Power Systems: Achievements and Perspectives


This paper is a critical review of selected real-world energy storage systems based on hydrogen, ranging from lab-scale systems to full-scale systems in continuous operation. 15 projects are presented with a critical overview of their concept and performance. A review of research related to power electronics, control systems and energy management strategies has been added to integrate the findings with outlooks usually described in separate literature. Results show that while hydrogen energy storage systems are technically feasible, they still require large cost reductions to become commercially attractive. A challenge that affects the cost per unit of energy is the low energy efficiency of some of the system components in real-world operating conditions. Due to losses in the conversion and storage processes, hydrogen energy storage systems lose anywhere between 60 and 85% of the incoming electricity with current technology. However, there are currently very few alternatives for long-term storage of electricity in power systems so the interest in hydrogen for this application remains high from both industry and academia. Additionally, it is expected that the share of intermittent renewable energy in power systems will increase in the coming decades. This could lead to technology development and cost reductions within hydrogen technology if this technology is needed to store excess renewable energy. Results from the reviewed projects indicate that the best solution from a technical viewpoint consists in hybrid systems where hydrogen is combined with short-term energy storage technologies like batteries and supercapacitors. In these hybrid systems the advantages with each storage technology can be fully exploited to maximize efficiency if the system is specifically tailored to the given situation. The disadvantage is that this will obviously increase the complexity and total cost of the energy system.
Therefore, control systems and energy management strategies are important factors to achieve optimal results, both in terms of efficiency and cost. By considering the reviewed projects and evaluating operation modes and control systems, new hybrid energy systems could be tailored to fit each situation and to reduce energy losses.

Funding source: T.E-E. and S.S. acknowledge funding from the Research Council of Norway (project number 295605)
Countries: Denmark ; Norway

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