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Techno-economic Analysis to Identify the Optimal Conditions for Green Hydrogen Production


The intermittency of renewable energy sources necessitates energy storage to meet the full demand and balancing requirements of the grid. Green hydrogen (H2) is a chemical energy carrier that can be used in a flexible manner and store large amounts of energy for long periods of time. This techno-economic analysis investigates H2 production from wind using commercially available desalination and electrolysis units. Proton exchange membrane and alkaline electrolyser units are utilised and compared. The intermittency of wind is examined, with comparison against grid-bought electricity. A model is developed to determine the selling price required to ensure profitability over a 10-year period. Firstly, where H2 is produced using energy from the grid, with electricity purchased when below a specified price point or between specified hours. In the second scenario a wind turbine is owned by the user and the electricity price is not considered, while the turbine capital expenditure is. The price of H2 production from wind is found to be comparable with natural gas derived H2 at a larger scale, with a minimum selling price calculated to be 4.85 £/kg at a setpoint of 500 kg of H2/hr. At a setpoint of 50 kg of H2/hr, this is significantly higher at 12.10 £/kg. In both cases, the alkaline electrolyser produced cheaper H2. This study demonstrates an economy of scale with H2 prices decreasing with increased scale. H2 prices are also closely linked to the capital expenditure, with the equipment size, space and safety identified as limiting factors.

Funding source: Ashleigh Henry would like to acknowledge the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy (DfE). This work is funded by the Bryden Centre project which is supported by the European Union‘s (EU) INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: United Kingdom

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