Hydrogen energy will become a profitable industry within ten years, and the production of clean fuels will cost an average of $ 2.5 per kilogram, up from the current $ 10.61. This conclusion was made by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who analyzed the state of the current market and its prospects for an isolated model of hydrogen production using solar panels, according to PV Magazine.
The MIT model existed in a vacuum – the scientists did not consider using additional funds, such as selling excess capacity or buying electricity on days when the sun was out. As it turned out, if solar power plants are located in those parts of the United States where there are good solar resources, then green hydrogen can compete with blue, which is obtained using water and other renewable energy sources. The average cost of fuel, in this situation, will be from $ 1.9 to $ 4.2 per kilogram.
“Of course, any real system can use a network connection, but our analysis does not account for external data,” the study authors explain.
The proposed model optimized photovoltaic cells, electrolysis, energy storage and other balancing components to ensure consistent hydrogen production, taking into account hourly changes in energy production throughout the year. In addition, the team performed a spatial analysis of the average cost of hydrogen production in the continental United States and considered component costs, worker requirements, and potential system problems.
The MIT scenario assumes a reduction in electrolysis costs from $ 800 per kW to $ 500 by the end of the decade. As the scientists explain, the change in cost is associated with the development of technology and the corresponding increase in the efficiency of the electrolyzer from 58% to 70%. At the same time, the cost of storing hydrogen in pressure tanks will decrease by 33%, which will also contribute to the beneficial use of green hydrogen on cloudy days.
According to the results of the study, the scientists reported that the average cost of green hydrogen in the northwestern United States will be $ 2.3, while in the southwest the price will range from $ 1.9 to $ 4.2 per kilogram. At the same time, despite the great potential of green hydrogen, the team assumes that natural gas, which emits harmful substances into the atmosphere, will still be a more profitable solution in the production of hydrogen – it will give a cost price of only $ 1 per kilogram by 2030.