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Hydrogen storage, electrolysers and fuel cells: Cost-effective power management and microgrids

Hydrogen storage, electrolysers and fuel cells: Cost-effective power management and microgrids

Renewable electricity production, mainly from solar and wind, increased considerably in the last two decades worldwide. Electricity from solar, wind, and hydro are subject to daily, weekly, and seasonal fluctuations.

The higher the penetration of renewables into the electricity grid, the more challenging it is to match supply and demand.

Pumped hydro is the classical way to overcome daily fluctuations. Nowadays, there is also an increase in large-scale battery storage projects. Nevertheless, the energy storage profile of these technologies is not appropriate to overcome extended periods of windless, sunless ‘dark-doldrums’ that persist in many locations over the course of a year.

On the other hand, green hydrogen can be a clean energy vector with seasonal storage potential and can generate electricity on demand. Due to the high volatility of solar and wind power, electrolysers are not utilised to their full extent in times of dark-doldrums. Unitised regenerative fuel cells (URFC) can operate either in fuel cell mode to produce electricity from hydrogen or in electrolysis mode to produce hydrogen from electricity. Due to this flexibility, a URFC can achieve a high utilisation, or capacity-factor, which can improve project economics.

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