New tool to evaluate economic benefits of hydrogen storage


Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a novel valuation framework for hydrogen storage that they claim can help utilities, regulators, energy suppliers and researchers assess the economic benefits of storing the clean fuel.

Called the Hydrogen Energy Storage Evaluation Tool (HESET), the new framework is an adapted version of PNNL's Energy Storage Evaluation Tool (ESET), which was created by the research group in 2013. It is able to assess individual system components, different hydrogen flow pathways, various grid and end-user services, and multi-dimensional couplings.

“This tool is unique in that it allows for modeling of stacked revenue streams, like grid services and several different hydrogen end uses,” said PNNL researcher Di Wu, noting that stored hydrogen may be used for grid services such as frequency regulation, capacity value, deferral of transmission or distribution equipment upgrades, demand charge reductions, and demand response.

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According to Wu, hydrogen storage differs from other forms of energy storage, as it is able to interact with multiple sectors at a relatively low cost per volume for long-term storage.

The research team has already tested the novel tool on different configurations of electrolyzers with capacities ranging from 1 to 10 MW and discovered that, if properly sized, the system is not only economically feasible but it may also provide up to 1.5 times return on investment. “Economic benefits from bundling grid services can make a hydrogen energy storage project more cost-effective,” Wu further explained. “Value streams must be identified and appropriately monetized to make hydrogen storage a more financially competitive option and thereby adopted at scale.”

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