compressed hydrogen
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A new research paper ‘The promise of seasonal storage’ finds that the price of seasonal storage, if based on compressed hydrogen, could become cost-competitive with alternative forms of long-term storage.

The research conducted by DNV GL explores the viability of balancing yearly cycles in energy demand and renewable energy generation with long-term storage technology.

The research is based on a case study modeling energy generation and demand for 58 different climate years.

Key study findings include:

  1. The need for additional storage solutions is lower than expected and can be largely covered with available short-term storage technology such as battery storage systems.  
  2. The growing number of electric vehicles in our transport system will provide most of the needed short-term energy storage to balance renewable energy in the power grid.
  3. The rise of synthetic fuels can provide a critical stepping-stone for the use of seasonal storage applications. Synthetic fuels enable CO₂ heavy sectors to be decarbonized by creating hydrogen from low-priced (renewable-generated) electricity, which is then converted into e-fuels like ammonia. For the use case investigated, the long-term storage of electricity would become economically viable, especially in markets like Germany, where a vast amount of low-carbon electricity will be available in the coming decades.
  4. The price of seasonal storage, if based on compressed hydrogen, could become cost-competitive with alternative forms of long-term storage such as burning gas due to the growing incentivization of low-carbon technology. This price development is based on the expected increase of the carbon price from $25 to $60 per tonne CO₂ by 2050 in Europe, according to DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook report.

As energy demand is increasingly electrified, for example through rising numbers of electric vehicles and in buildings, for space heating and cooling, this growing demand is largely being met by variable renewables, which increases the need for long-term storage solutions.

The price of seasonal storage, if based on compressed hydrogen, could become cost-competitive with alternative forms of long-term storage such as burning gas due to the growing incentivization of low-carbon technology.

This price development is based on the expected increase of the carbon price from $25 to $60 per tonne CO₂ by 2050 in Europe.

Lucy Craig, director of Technology and Innovation at DNV GL Energy, said: “As renewables take a larger share of the energy mix, new issues need to be addressed, such as meeting the increasing demand for electricity even when there is no wind or sun. Our research shows that seasonal storage provides a possible solution to address the problem of long periods without renewable generation, for example in the Northern European winter.

“While the business case for seasonal storage is challenged by the rapid growth of grid-connected battery storage, our research shows that there is an opportunity for new technologies such as green hydrogen and synthetic fuels.”

Click here for information about the report.