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ITM Power reports its estimated cost of producing hydrogen via electrolysis down significantly from last year

22 July 2013

ITM Power has provided an update on the cost structure of hydrogen generated by its HFuel electrolysis platform. The new estimated cost —US$4.13/kg after capital amortization—incorporates efficiency improvements, cost reduction of its HGas platform and data provided by Hyundai for the ix35 fuel cell electric vehicle (earlier post).

ITM Power projects hydrogen cost at £4.19/kg (US$6.44/kg), a 32.7% reduction from last year’s £6.23/kg (US$9.57/kg), within a 10-year capital amortization period and £2.69/kg (US$4.13/kg), a 22.9% reduction from last year’s £3.49/kg (US$5.36/kg), after capital amortization.

ITM Power recently announced an overall performance improvement to its rapid response stack platform, enabling hydrogen output to be increased by 11%. ITM Power previously described its HGas (25 kg/day PEM) stack module as being capable of self-pressuring up to 80 bar and responding to changes in power in less than 1 second.

Each stack is now able to generate up to 27.9 kg/day at full load at an efficiency of greater than 77%. This increased stack output means the hydrogen produced from a 1MW system consisting of 16 such stacks has increased from 400 to 446 kg/day.

Further, stack response time has improved. The response of an electrolyser stack is a function of both the electrochemistry of the stack and the power electronics. As part of the continuing assessment of the HGas stack platform, ITM Power has applied a suite of aggressive on/off cycles. These involve stepping the stack from 100% to 0% and back to 100% capacity every ten minutes to measure reaction time and any changes in performance. Changes in current are observed to take place in 0.2 seconds and are not changing during the testing to date.

For the cost analysis, ITM Power used a 1MW (446 kg/day) HGas Generation Module comprising 16 HGas electrolyzer stacks and associated balance of plant. In addition to capital cost and electricity consumption, the analysis includes an indicative annual maintenance cost and utilization factor. The assumptions used are:

Generation capacity 446 kg/24h
Amortization period 10 years
Electricity price 3.5p/kWh (US 5¢/kWh)
Water price 0.13p/liter (US 75¢/gal US)
System efficiency 55 kWh/kg
Annual Service 5% of sale price
Utilization factor 70%

The European cost targets for hydrogen generation are €9.90/kg (£7.92/kg, US$13.07/kg) in 2015 and €5.50/kg (£4.40/kg, US$7.26) in 2025, ITM Power notes. The refueling equipment is quoted separately and is typically tailored to the user’s specific requirements. The costs associated with shipping the unit to site are not included as they are location specific.

Increasing the utilization factor to 100% reduces the hydrogen cost to £3.52/kg (US$5.41/kg), a 29.6% reduction on last year’s £5.00/kg (US$7.68), during a 10-year capital amortization period and £2.47/kg (US$3.79/kg), a 19.8% reduction on last year’s £3.08/kg ($4.73/kg), thereafter.

The key to a low hydrogen price is a high utilization of assets combined with a low electricity price achieved by grid balancing payments, the company noted. One way of achieving high utilization is by combining Power-to-Gas energy storage with refueling. (Earlier post.)

Fueling cost comparison. The Hyundai ix35 FCEV has a hydrogen storage tank of 5.64kg with a driving range of 594 km, representing hydrogen consumption of 0.95 kg per 100 km. At a hydrogen price of £4.19 per kg that wrks out to a price of 4p per km (22.7¢ per mile). The diesel version of the Hyundai ix35 (2.0 liter CRDi 4WD) costs 7.9 pence per km (45.4¢/mile) to operate based on a fuel consumption of 5.7 liters of diesel per 100 km at a diesel price of 139.2 pence per liter (US$8.09/gallon US).

July 22, 2013 in Hydrogen, Hydrogen Production | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Darius:
The heat gets more useful as the temperature goes up.
100% is a bit much though!
Efficiencies of hydrogen production can theoretically be over 100%, but getting there is more than a tad difficult.

"Platinum on the membranes becomes contaminated, so think of 100,000 miles as a "rebuild" not a scraping. "

Thanks. I didn't know that.

With less costly substitutes for platinum then this would be more reasonable.

@Bob:
The platinum of course gets recycled.

We supply 6 large aluminum plants 24/7 with very low cost (under $0.02/kWh) hydro power.

Hydrogen plants could be supplied with lower cost ($0.01/kWh?) 'off peak' clean hydro power.

Eventually, very low cost surplus hydro energy will/could be used to cleanly generate low cost hydrogen at road side stations?

Maybe in Quebec, Harvey.  But Quebec doesn't have enough power to supply H2 even for Ontario, let alone the rest of North America.  Something else is going to have to do the heavy lifting.

There are many thousand good hydro sites not yet developed or not fully exploited. With more and more rain as climate warms up, water will be recycled more often, increasing potential hydro power generation.

When coupled with intermittent power sources such as Solar and/or Wind, hydro variable power generating facilities with large water storage, can be used to supply peak loads, allowing full/optimized use of intermittent sources. When hydro facilities are 'over-equipped', much higher daily peak loads can be handled.

Whenever 'over equipped' hydro sites run low on water supply, it is the right time to add more intermittent (Wind and Solar) sources. The ideal situation would be went hydro facilities are used for peak loads only and most base loads would be supplied by intermittent sources.

Our current total (hydro + wind) capacity is close to 50,000 mega-watt (with a potential of over 100,000 mega-watts) but our average consumption is under 30,000 mega-watts. Consumption varies from overnight lows of 18,000 mega-watts to short peaks of 38,000 mega-watts on extreme cold winter days. There is an average overnight surplus capacity of 24,000+ mega-watt (good enough for 2,400,000 x 12 hours = 28,800,000 EVs) and a 24/7 average surplus of close to 10,000 mega-watts (good enough for another 1,000,000 x 12 hours = 12,000,000 EVs)**

** Assuming that each EV would consume 10 kWh/day.

The current 6 large aluminum plants are very heavy 24/7 users and get clean hydro/wind energy for under $0.02/kWh. Domestic customers pay an average of about $0.055/kWh. One plant (Rio Tinto) is closing down next year and planned expansions of two others are postponed due to low demand.


In principle, we could supply enough clean power for at least one EV per family in Ontario as soon as the interconnections are installed. We could easily supply Ontario with enough power for 3 EVs/family we a mix of old and new Hydro/wind generating facilities at $0.06 to $0.08/kWh. Instead of buying cheap clean power, Ontario will probably overhaul their old Candu nuclear plants and pay $0.11+/kWh.

It is a strange world?

Since H2 generation and FCs will be less efficient than Batteries and EVs, it would probably take about twice as much electricity but the Hydro/Wind production potential is there.

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