The conversion of excess electricity into hydrogen for prolonged storage is gaining prominence in the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions. Researchers at Empa collaborated with ETH Zurich to evaluate the viability of a power-to-hydrogen-to-power (P2H2P) system in a multi-family dwelling.
The challenge at hand revolves around bridging the seasonal energy gap, particularly within Switzerland’s evolving energy landscape, which increasingly leans on renewable sources and intends to phase out nuclear power. This thesis delved into this complex issue, with support from Empa’s Urban Energy Systems experts.
The study centered on integrating a P2H2P system, capable of converting surplus electricity into hydrogen, storing it for months, and re-generating electricity when needed. Unlike conventional batteries, this method boasts extended storage capabilities without energy loss.
Utilizing Empa‘s specialized ehub tool, the system was modeled, considering various components like PV systems, an electrolyzer, hydrogen storage tanks, and fuel cells. The analysis factored in data from solar radiation, CO2 emissions, electricity prices, and technical specifications.
The results demonstrated that the P2H2P system effectively balanced energy fluctuations, particularly at the seasonal level, but incurred higher costs and emissions than conventional systems in both 2020 and 2040, primarily due to the size of the hydrogen storage tanks.
Despite these initial findings, the system remains a contender for future sustainable energy transitions, contingent on advancements that reduce hydrogen storage requirements, technological enhancements, and overall energy consumption reductions. Furthermore, it could perform more favorably in regions with higher CO2 emissions and by partnering with industries interested in hydrogen applications.