Hydrogen storage for off-grid power supply

E. Maca Gray, C. J. Webb, J. Andrews, B. Shabani, P. J. Tsai, S. L.I. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of intermittent renewable energy sources for power supply to off-grid electricity consumers depends on energy storage technology to guarantee continuous supply. Potential applications of storage-guaranteed systems range from small installations for remote telecoms, water-pumping and single dwellings, to farms and whole communities for whom grid connection is too expensive or otherwise infeasible, to industrial, military and humanitarian uses. In this paper we explore some of the technical issues surrounding the use of hydrogen storage, in conjunction with a PEM electrolyser and PEM fuel cell, to guarantee electricity supply when the energy source is intermittent, most typically solar photovoltaic. We advocate metal-hydride storage and compare its energy density to that of Li-ion battery storage, concluding that a significantly smaller package is possible with metal-hydride storage. A simple approach to match the output of a photovoltaic array to an electrolyser is presented. The properties required for the metal-hydride storage material to interface the electrolyser to the fuel cell are discussed in detail. It is concluded that relatively conventional Mischmetal-based AB5 alloys are suitable for this application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-663
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Electrolyser
  • Fuel cell
  • Hydrogen storage
  • Remote-area power supply

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