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Solar Hydrogen for High Capacity, Dispatchable, Long-distance Energy transmission – A Case Study for Injection in the Greenstream Natural Gas Pipeline


This paper presents the results of techno-economic modelling for hydrogen production from a photovoltaic battery electrolyser system (PBES) for injection into a natural gas transmission line. Mellitah in Libya, connected to Gela in Italy by the Greenstream subsea gas transmission line, is selected as the location for a case study. The PBES includes photovoltaic (PV) arrays, battery, electrolyser, hydrogen compressor, and large-scale hydrogen storage to maintain constant hydrogen volume fraction in the pipeline. Two PBES configurations with different large-scale storage methods are evaluated: PBESC with compressed hydrogen stored in buried pipes, and PBESL with liquefied hydrogen stored in spherical tanks. Simulated hourly PV electricity generation is used to calculate the specific hourly capacity factor of a hypothetical PV array in Mellitah. This capacity factor is then used with different PV sizes for sizing the PBES. The levelised cost of delivered hydrogen (LCOHD) is used as the key techno-economic parameter to optimise the size of the PBES by equipment sizing. The costs of all equipment, except the PV array and batteries, are made to be a function of electrolyser size. The equipment sizes are deemed optimal if PBES meets hydrogen demand at the minimum LCOHD. The techno-economic performance of the PBES is evaluated for four scenarios of fixed and constant hydrogen volume fraction targets in the pipeline: 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%. The PBES can produce up to 106 kilotonnes of hydrogen per year to meet the 20% target at an LCOHD of 3.69 €/kg for compressed hydrogen storage (PBESC) and 2.81 €/kg for liquid hydrogen storage (PBESL). Storing liquid hydrogen at large-scale is significantly cheaper than gaseous hydrogen, even with the inclusion of a significantly larger PV array that is required to supply additional electrcitiy for liquefaction.

Funding source: The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding support from the EU Interreg North-West Europe programme through the GENerating energy secure COMMunities through smart renewable hydrogen (GENCOMM) project (grant number NWE 334) and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) RDD Programme (grant number RDD 445).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Ireland ; Italy ; United States

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