With the Project:
ELY4OFF (Pem Electrolysers for Operation with offgrid renewable installations)
The main goal of the ELY4OFF project is the development and demonstration of an autonomous off-grid electrolysis system linked to renewable energy sources. It explores the potential of hydrogen production by polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolyzers to become a key enabling technology in future energy markets. The aim is to produce an energy storage system able to deliver hydrogen to different applications and thus enable a high penetration of renewable energy sources.
Nowadays, mainly diesel generators are used as an off-grid solution for backup power, but this causes CO2 and GHG emissions (especially NOx and particulates), noise emissions, and the effects of the volatile diesel market influence operating costs. However, green hydrogen production by means of water electrolysis has been proposed as a feasible solution to fill the gaps between demand and production. Off-grid electrolysis and hydrogen storage have the key advantage of being able to manage both the long-term and short-term transient variations in renewable supply, whereas batteries cannot manage the seasonal variations unless very large battery stores are specified.
The strategic goal of ELY4OFF is the design and engineering of a robust, flexible, highly efficient and cost-competitive polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolyzer. Cutting-edge operational capabilities are used under highly dynamic power supplies required for direct coupling to renewable energy generation. The direct link between the photovoltaic energy and the electrolyzer is a novel DC/DC converter developed specifically for the project. On the other hand, the electrolyzer has essential consumers (control and anti-freezing) which have to be supplied even when there is no renewable energy available.
The electrolyzer is based on a commercial unit and has been adapted to work in off-grid configurations through the optimisation of the balance of the plant and control settings modifications. The hydrogen obtained by means of this new technology is fully green as it is produced using renewable energy only. Such hydrogen is of the highest quality in terms of decarbonisation potential as it avoids uncertainties concerning the actual carbon footprint of hydrogen produced by grid electricity, or by fossil fuels.
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