Electrolysers and fuel cells powered by intermittent wind and solar to provide affordable seasonal energy storage

– Dr. Richa Bobade

Currently world research is focused mainly on developing sustainable and clean energy sources to replace the carbon positive fossil fuels. The research so far was mostly dedicated to the development of fuel cells which utilize hydrogen to produce electricity. Apart from fuel cells, various other renewable power sources such as wind energy and solar energy have been explored. It has been projected that electricity from these renewables has become economically competent due to years of cost decline and advances in the technology.

Despite of the rapid progress in the renewable electricity, currently these sources hold a low share in the total electricity generation; Non-renewable fossil fuels holding a major stake in it. The major drawback of these sources is the supply and demand imbalances. This happens as their most productive periods are when electricity demands are lowest or vice –a versa; or in the case of wind energy they are produced in places far away from cities where the demand is high. Scientists have now come up with a new idea where in the renewables are supplemented with other dispatchable energy sources that can match with shifts in energy demands.

Hydrogen energy storage is one such promising option in this regards. Hydrogen energy storage is a process in which the surplus energy created by renewables during low energy demands is used to power electrolysis. During electrolysis an electrical current is passed through chemical solution to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen can be used in stationary fuel cells either for power generation or to provide fuel for EVs, injected into natural gas pipelines to reduce carbon footprint or even stored for later use.

Scientist from Oregon Center for Electrochemistry (OCE) and Arizona-based zero-emission vehicle company Nikola have examined the economic viability of electrolyzers and fuel cells powered by intermittent wind and solar for providing seasonal energy storage in the U.S. energy market. The study entitled as “Research priorities for seasonal energy storage using electrolyzers and fuel cell” published in Joule, has defined long-duration energy storage (LDES) as storage solutions with energy capacities equivalent to over 10 hours of rated power, with optimal levels reaching 100 hours. The researchers modelled a U.S. energy system relying 100% on wind and solar and supported by 200GW of LDES with a storage capacity of 80,000GWh. “For comparison, electrification of the entire fleet of light-duty vehicles in the U.S. would require 200 times less power capacity but 83 times greater energy storage capacity.”

The academics have further reported that “For modelled electrolysis stacks available at $200/kW, a hydrogen cost target of $1/kg is met at electricity rates [of] $0.02/kWh by future solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) electrolyzers operating at 1.2V or at electricity rates [of] $0.01/kWh by future proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers operating at 1.75V,” it concluded. “Growth of fuel cell markets from applications in back-up power to heavy-duty transportation could be leveraged to satisfy the need for inexpensive, low-capacity-factor power discharge facilities.”

Please see the following news Source(s) and original reference(s) therein:

Report Source: (https://www.pv-magazine.com)

3 thoughts on “Electrolysers and fuel cells powered by intermittent wind and solar to provide affordable seasonal energy storage”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar

Dr. Mashelkar is only the third Indian engineer to have been elected (1998) as Fellow of Royal Society (FRS), London in the twentieth century. He was elected Foreign Associate of US National Academy of Science (2005) and also National Academy of Engineering (2003), Associate Foreign Member, American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2011), Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, U.K. (1996), Foreign Fellow of Australian Technological Science and Engineering Academy (2008), Corresponding Member of Australian Academy of Sciences (2017), Fellow of World Academy of Arts & Science, USA (2000), Fellow of US National Academy of Inventors (2017), the first ever Indian from India to be elected and TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize (2018), which is the highest science award of The World Academy of Science.

In 2006, he received the ‘Star of Asia’ Award at the hands of former President of USA, George Bush (Sr). The President of India honoured Dr. Mashelkar with three of the highest civilian awards, namely Padmashri (1991), Padmabhushan (2000) and Padma Vibhushan (2014).

Prof. Satishchandra Ogale

Prof. Satishchandra B. Ogale has had a long 40 years of experience in higher education and research.  He has over 500 publications in international journals, three co-edited books with Springer, Wiley and Elsevier, and 10 granted US patents based on research done in India. 
He is a Reviewer as well as Advisory Board member of many high impact International Journals and is also a popular science writer in regional language marathi.
He has won many Awards, Prizes, and National and International recognitions. He has given numerous invited, plenary and keynote talks in National and International conferences and has supervised over 65 Ph.D. students. 
Prof. Ogale has been a Visiting Professor/ Scientist in many institutions in the USA and Europe on several occasions.

Anupama Engineer

She has previously worked as a Scientist at Agharkar research Institute and at higher management level at Thomas Baker Bioscience Private Limited. She has also taught graduate and post graduate students in Biotechnology & Microbiology during her tenure as a lecturer in Royal College, Mumbai and as a Counselor for IGNOU Biotechnology course. Anupama, is a multitasker with few roles like, entrepreneur, Scientist, manager, a doting mother and many more. Teaching and educating is her passion and she takes every effort to encourage fundamental learning. Anupama holds a vast experience in Start-up processes.

Dr Smita Chaturvedi
Smita is an experimental condensed matter physicist. The quest for multifunctional materials motivates her. Smita finished her PhD from RDVV Jabalpur and BARC Mumbai in the year 2002 and worked as a research associate in IIT Mumbai and Oakland University, Michigan. Smita was awarded as a Fulbright Nehru Academic and Professional excellence fellow in 2018-19. Smita holds more than a decade of research and teaching experience. She possesses good knowledge about education system and research opportunities in India as well as abroad. Music and gardening are her mindful meditations.
Dr. Priyadarshini Karve
Dr Priyadarshini Karve has worked in the areas of household energy, decentralised waste-to-fuel technologies, climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable and climate-ready urbanisation, etc. She runs her own social green enterprise Samuchit Enviro Tech in Pune, focused on enabling access to sustainable products and services. She is also a co-founder of OrjaBox, a startup promoting solar thermal technologies. Dr Karve is a Founder Member of Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN - a multi-state society of decentralised renewable energy practitioners and entrepreneurs) and Cleaner Cooking Coalition (CCC - an international organisation focused on promoting user-centric cooking energy technologies that are good for health as well as climate). She is also the National Convener of Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change (INECC - focused on climate justice issues and working to bring people's voices in policy choices). Her work has been recognised by several national and international awards and honours.
Sanjay Khare
Sanjay Khare ,after his graduation in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1986 has been associated with major Japanese & European Automotive OEMs in Indian Subcontinent for 35 years . Widely travelled across Europe & Asia , he has held positions across diverse functions of Automotive Corporations.
In his current role as Board Member and Vice President at Skoda Auto Volkswagen India , he is Chief Sustainability Catalyst to guide actions at Skoda Auto Volkswagen India along with the sister brands Audi, Porsche & Lamborghini.
He leads an active Climate Resilience program where the automotive major in India has already achieved Zero Waste to Landfill, Water Positive & Zero liquid Discharge Certification, Zero Accidents , targeting an 18.5 MW of installed Roof Top Solar plant at a single Automotive site in India in 2021 and fully Carbon Neutral Production by 2025.
Sanjay has done his Executive MBA from Management development Institute ,Gurgaon specialising in Strategy & Marketing . He has active interests in driving Cultural Change, Competency building , Human Motivation topics while adopting/ innovating the technological advancements and total quality revolution.He is also a Qualified Independent Director registered with Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt. of India. An active speaker on Automotive & Sustainability topics on National & International forums.
In personal life, he is an Endurance Cyclist having participated in many adventure ride expeditions . He also spends his time in developing mastery on Indian Classical Music instrument Sitar.