Power-to-gas-to-power designs for incorporating hydrogen into solar wind microgrids – pv magazine International


Mexican researchers investigated the possibility of integrating hydrogen-based power-to-gas-to-power into an existing rural microgrid. They said this solution could become competitive if the costs of the electrolyser, fuel cell and hydrogen tank were cut in half, or if diesel prices continued to rise.

Scientists from Mexico’s National Electricity and Clean Energy Institute conducted a techno-economic feasibility study to assess the feasibility of integrating hydrogen-based electricity (P2G2P) into a micro -rural network serving the community of Puertecitos in Mexico. State of Baja California.

“Proposal the system design can be replicated in different regions of Mexico and other latitudes,” researcher Tatiana Romero Castañon Told photo magazine.

Hydrogen incorporation would use excess renewable energy in winter for long-term storage, with the hydrogen plant consisting of an electrolyser, hydrogen tank and fuel cell system .

“Winter, on the other hand, is very mild in this part of the country. Thus, there is no need to use heaters,” the scientists said.

In the proposed system configuration, which was modeled with Homer Pro software, the electricity generated by the microgrid PV and wind installations is used for microgrid load demand and hydrogen generation through the electrolyser. The microgrid consists of a 54.4 kW photovoltaic system, a 60 kW diesel generator, a 5 kW wind turbine and a 522 kWh storage system.

The economic analysis was performed by calculating the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of the microgrid before and after the incorporation of the hydrogen plant.

“With LCOE, the incorporation of the hydrogen storage system (P2G2P) in the microgrid can be analyzed as an alternative to reduce, and possibly replace, diesel, by storing hydrogen over the seasons”, have said the scientists. “Puertecitos could be an optimal region for hydrogen applications because it does not have access to the electric grid, but also, the micro-grid depends (in the summer) on diesel production.”

Different scenarios were considered in the modeling, based on two main reference scenarios: a system with fuel cell capacities ranging from 3kW to 12kW, a electrolyser capacity between 6kW and 22kW, and a tank with a storage capacity between 2 kg and 8 kg. They also considered a system with fuel capacities between 5 kW and 18 kW, an electrolyser capacity of 10 kW to 38 kW, and a hydrogen tank with a capacity ranging from 10 kg to 40 kg.

Through their analysis, the academics found that the most cost-competitive scenario is offered by a combination of a 6 kW fuel cell, a 6 kW electrolyzer and a hydrogen tank of 2kg. They assumed a capex of $1,250/kW for the fuel cell, $1,250/kW for the electrolyser and $500/kg for the tank.

“The question that remains is whether the envisioned range of Capex technology will become a reality,” the scientists said. “The model showed that by halving the current investment cost of electrolysers, fuel cells and hydrogen tanks, P2G2P becomes competitive. For this scenario, mass production and short-term H2 technology adoption can reduce the time it takes to be cost competitive. Another way to speed up H2 adoption could be an increase in diesel prices.

They described the system design in “A technical-economic study for a hydrogen storage system in a microgrid located in Baja California, Mexico. Levelized energy cost for power to gas to power scenarioswhich was recently published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

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