One-Dimensional Electrolyzer Modeling and System Sizing for Solar Hydrogen Production: an Economic Approach

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

In this paper, a solar based hydrogen production in the city of Tehran, the capital of Iran is simulated and the cost of produced hydrogen is evaluated. Local solar power profile is obtained using TRNSYS software for a typical parking station in Tehran. The generated electricity is used to supply power to a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer for hydrogen production. Dynamic nature of solar power and necessity of reasonable accuracy for estimating of amount of hydrogen production leads to propose a new 1D dynamic fluid flow model for PEM electrolyzer cell simulation. The hydrogen price in this system is estimated using Equivalent Annual Worth (EAW) analysis. Although it is convenient to select a yearly useful lifetime for electrolyzer as well as solar cells in this paper an hourly lifetime is considered which allows finding the hydrogen cost based on electrolyzer operating time. Also, electrolyzer sizing is done by selecting various number of cells for each stack and alternatives are compared from performance and economic point of view. In this regards 4 cases consist of 2, 3, 4 and 5 electrolyzer cell are compared. Hydrogen price at each case is evaluated and sensitivity analysis is performed. The results represent that the system with higher efficiency is not always an economical choice. As an alternative, the electrolyzer turning off at some conditions is also investigated for possibility of extending lifetime and reducing the hydrogen price. It is found that turning off the electrolyzer under specified minimum current density (2000 A/m2) in all cases reduce the final produced hydrogen price however this price and electrolyzer size is still strongly dependent to the electrolyzer capital cost.

Keywords


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