Cost minimized hydrogen from solar and wind – Production and supply in the European catchment area
Green hydrogen plays a major role in the net-zero greenhouse gas-reduction strategy of the European Union. To supply hydrogen as cheap as possible, a well-balanced production system is needed to handle fluctuations of solar radiation and wind energy. Thus, this paper investigates the onsite hydrogen supply costs in the European catchment area in 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050. Furthermore, a subsequent transport per pipeline to one of the projected demand centres in Europe (exemplary Germany) is considered. Also, the sensitivity regarding the additional use of salt caverns as hydrogen storage and less restricting supply profiles is assessed as well as the technical annual supply potential for 2030 and 2050. To do so, the optimal system design for minimized hydrogen supply cost for water electrolysis based on photovoltaic and wind turbines is estimated for a 0.5° x 0.5° grid using a linear optimization model. For the best locations, coastal regions at the North Sea, Western Sahara and parts of Algeria, onsite hydrogen supply cost decreases from 3 €2020/kgH2 in 2030 to 2 €2020/kgH2 in 2050. The technical hydrogen supply potential is tremendous, especially from Northern Africa, and a supply to Central Europe (Germany) via pipeline for around 3 €2020/kgH2 is possible in 2050, while a domestic hydrogen production in Germany covering the projected demand would lead to cost up to 4.5 €2020/kgH2. Furthermore, a large scale hydrogen storage e.g. in salt caverns, can reduce the hydrogen supply costs for regions with high seasonality of solar and wind up to 50% and excess electricity to less than 10%, leading to fewer cost deviations between the sub-regions, resulting in lower import costs from Northern and Western Europe than from Northern Africa or Middle East.