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Designing Off-grid Green Hydrogen Plants Using Dynamic Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Electrolyzers to Minimize the Hydrogen Production Cost


Hydrogen produced from electrolysis is an attractive carbon-free fuel and feedstock, but potential benefits depend on the carbon intensity of electricity production. This study uses technoeconomic modeling to analyze the benefits of producing zero-carbon hydrogen through dynamically operated polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzers connected to photovoltaic and wind variable renewable energy (VRE) sources. Dynamic operation is considered for current densities between 0 and 6 A cm2 and compared to a constant current density of 2 A cm2 for different combinations of VRE to electrolysis (VRE:E) capacity ratios and compositions of photovoltaic and wind energy in four locations across the United States. For optimal VRE:E and wind:photovoltaic capacity ratios, dynamic operation is found to reduce the levelized cost of hydrogen by 5%–9%, while increasing hydrogen production by 134%–173%, and decreasing excess electrical power by 82%–95%. The framework herein may be used to determine the optimal VRE:E capacity and VRE mix for dynamically operated green hydrogen systems.

Funding source: D.E. acknowledges partial support from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), US Department of Energy, under award number DE-AR0001567.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: United States

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