Hydrogen has been used for more than a century in industrial processes including the chemicals sector, refining, thermal treatments, cooling of generators, as a propellant fuel and in the food industry. To date, hydrogen has been produced mainly through steam methane reforming of natural gas. To reach net-zero emissions requires decarbonised hydrogen production. This can be achieved by using electrolyzers supplied with power generated from renewable energy sources to produce “green hydrogen”.
Green hydrogen links the power sector with part of industry and transport that use significant quantities of fossil fuels and cannot be directly electrified: the so-called “hard-to-abate” sectors. In the coming years, the use of green hydrogen is set to rise in heavy road transport, shipping and aviation, and other industrial sectors such as production of steel, tiles and glass. This will have a significant impact on electricity and gas systems.
There are different ways to integrate green hydrogen, notably:
- Decentralized off-grid: Renewable power plants and electrolyzers are installed close to hydrogen demand sites and the energy system is islanded from the rest of power system
- Grid connected schemes:
- Decentralized grid connected: Renewable power plants and electrolyzers are installed close to hydrogen demand sites and connected to the grid, which helps to accommodate the periodical surplus or shortfall of renewable energy production
- Transport of electricity: Renewable power plants are built in areas with a high capacity factor, with electrolyzers installed close to sites of hydrogen demand. Renewable power is conveyed to electrolyzers through the grid
- Transport of hydrogen: Renewable power plants and electrolyzers are built in areas with a high capacity factor; hydrogen is transported to consumption centres through hydrogen pipelines or blended with natural gas in existing pipelines.
CESI has developed state-of-the-art methodologies and computational tools helping answer the following key questions:
- What are the implications of hydrogen integration scenarios on the power system?
- What is the impact of electrolyzers on power markets?
- Could electrolyzers support the integration of renewables?
Ultimately, CESI’s analyses can answer the key question: “How much will 1 kg of H2 cost in the different integration scenarios?”
An example of CESI study addressing integration of hydrogen in Italy is available online at this link
CESI also provides the following services:
- Feasibility studies of specific projects:
- Sizing of the electrolyzers and technology assessment
- Optimization of energy resources (power plant, storage and grid) and H2 production
- Network studies on plant configuration.
- Environmental consulting and permitting for installation of electrolyzers.