Concentrated solar thermalProject Solar Hybrid Fuels
The roadmap aims to define the research, development and demonstration priorities to establish and foster an industry using solar thermal technologies.
CSIRO has been leading the development of a roadmap for the Australian solar fuels industry. The roadmap aims to define the research, development and demonstration priorities to establish and foster an industry using solar thermal technologies. During the three-year project, the cost of photovoltaic (PV) technologies has significantly reduced, while interest has grown in the production of hydrogen from electrolysis. This report, commissioned by ARENA, assesses hydrogen production from PV and electrolysis. It is intended as both a standalone document and a useful reference point for comparison with solar thermal technologies. It considers the likely current cost as well as a ‘realistic, optimistic’ view of future possibilities, as presented in the solar thermal fuels roadmap.
Our evaluation of the current and future (2030) cost of hydrogen from PV and electrolysis shows that the potential cost using currently available technology is approximately $18.70/kg H2. The base case system consists of a PV module with power electronics connected to a proton exchange membrane electrolysis plant, which produces hydrogen only when the PV system is producing power. The assessment is based on an estimated system cost of $2300/kW for a large scale, nontracking PV system with a mid-range capacity factor of 20.5% and a weighted average cost of capital of 6.4%, as recently published by the CO2CRC (2015). It is assumed that the uninstalled cost of the electrolyser and associated components is $2,285/kW, in line with recent estimates from the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (Bertuccioli et al., 2014). Significant cost reductions are predicted for both these technologies, cutting the estimated cost of hydrogen to $9.10/kg by 2030.