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Projecting the Future Cost of PEM and Alkaline Water Electrolysers; a CAPEX Model Including Electrolyser Plant Size and Technology Department


The investment costs of water electrolysis represent one key challenge for the realisation of renewable hydrogen-based energy systems. This work presents a technology cost assessment and outlook towards 2030 for alkaline electrolysers (AEL) and PEM electrolysers (PEMEL) in the MW to GW range taking into consideration the effects of plant size and expected technology developments. Critical selected data was fitted to a modified power law to describe the cost of an electrolyser plant based on the overall capacity and a learning/technology development rate to derive cost estimations for different PEMEL and AEL plant capacities towards 2030. The analysis predicts that the CAPEX gap between AEL and PEMEL technologies will decrease significantly towards 2030 with plant size until 1 e10 MW range. Beyond this, only marginal cost reductions can be expected with CAPEX values approaching 320e400 $/kW for large scale (greater than 100 MW) plants by 2030 with subsequent cost reductions possible. Learning rates for electrolysers were estimated at 25 e30% for both AEL and PEMEL, which are significantly higher than the learning rates reported in previous literature.

Funding source: This work was part of the status report on electrolyser technology named Large-Scale Water Electrolysis, Technology Assessment and Outlook Towards 2030 (2019) carried out by SINTEF Industry for, and funded by, Equinor ASA (Project number 102020923). Further work and analysis have since then been performed to rewrite the initial results into this paper, which have been funded by SINTEF Industry (Project number 102004770-90).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Norway

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