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Analysis Tool Details Cost of Hydrogen Produced Via Wind Electrolysis

May 25, 2012

According to an analysis conducted by NREL engineers Genevieve Saur and Chris Ainscough, a range of wind class sites can provide green hydrogen at a cost close to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 target of $3.70/kg for distributed hydrogen plants. 

A new interactive mapping tool provides the results of this analysis, which focused on 42 potential sites in 11 states across the nation.

“We examined wind classes 3-6 across the United States and found that the cost of producing hydrogen via wind electrolysis ranged from $3.74 to $5.86/kg,” said Saur. “With the application of the production and investment tax credits, however, about half of the sites met the cost target for distributed plants.”

“The tax credits reduce the cost of wind power by $0.02/kWh, which results in a significant drop—$1/kg—in the cost of hydrogen,” Saur added.

How does the mapping tool work? Simply select the analysis options you want to apply and then use the map to learn about the economics of producing hydrogen from wind power.

The tool offers a variety of analysis options:

  • The purchase of pricier summer-peak electricity
  • A cost-balanced purchase of grid power in which the dollar value of grid power purchased equals the dollar value of wind power sold to the grid
  • A power-balanced purchase of grid power in which the quantity of grid power purchased equals the quantity of wind power sold to the grid
  • Cost comparisons with DOE targets for centralized and distributed production
  • The application of tax credits and grant funding for producing wind-generated electricity
  • Compression, storage, and dispensing cost variations.

This renewable fuel could be used to support the introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles, to provide energy storage to augment electricity grid services, or to supplement industrial hydrogen uses.

Learn more about renewable electrolysis and NREL’s related systems engineering, modeling, and analysis efforts.

—Julia Thomas