Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews vol:36 issue:8 pages:4636-4652
In many visions and roadmaps, there is a broad agreement that fuel cells – both for stationary and mobile applications – are the key technology to allow the development of a hydrogen infrastructure. Furthermore, this development is generally thought to be based on a gradual, decentralised evolution. Nevertheless, in this paper it is argued that, taking into account the entire hydrogen chain (production, transport, storage, distribution and end-use), this decentralised fuel-cell based philosophy shows some serious flaws.
Therefore, a new hydrogen-transition approach was pushed forward: mixing in of hydrogen into the natural-gas bulk. Using Flanders – the Northern part of Belgium – as a case study, the development of a transitory hydrogen infrastructure has been studied, taking into account the entire hydrogen chain and its dynamics, from production to end use.
In a next step, this transition is being quantified. An optimisation model has been developed using Matlab and the commercial solvers GAMS and CPLEX. Following a mixed-integer linear-programming approach, this model is able to determine the economically optimal hydrogen-production mix and operational behaviour of each hydrogen-production plant separately. The model then allows gaining valuable insights in the importance of storage and the influence of fuel prices and carbon taxes with regard to the development of an early hydrogen economy.