Future cost and performance of water electrolysis: An expert elicitation study

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Title: Future cost and performance of water electrolysis: An expert elicitation study
Authors: Schmidt, O
Gambhir, A
Staffell, IL
Hawkes, A
Nelson, J
Few, S
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The need for energy storage to balance intermittent and inflexible electricity supply with demand is driving interest in conversion of renewable electricity via electrolysis into a storable gas. But, high capital cost and uncertainty regarding future cost and performance improvements are barriers to investment in water electrolysis. Expert elicitations can support decision-making when data are sparse and their future development uncertain. Therefore, this study presents expert views on future capital cost, lifetime and efficiency for three electrolysis technologies: alkaline (AEC), proton exchange membrane (PEMEC) and solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC). Experts estimate that increased R&D funding can reduce capital costs by 0–24%, while production scale-up alone has an impact of 17–30%. System lifetimes may converge at around 60,000–90,000 h and efficiency improvements will be negligible. In addition to innovations on the cell-level, experts highlight improved production methods to automate manufacturing and produce higher quality components. Research into SOECs with lower electrode polarisation resistance or zero-gap AECs could undermine the projected dominance of PEMEC systems. This study thereby reduces barriers to investment in water electrolysis and shows how expert elicitations can help guide near-term investment, policy and research efforts to support the development of electrolysis for low-carbon energy systems.
Issue Date: 22-Nov-2017
Date of Acceptance: 9-Oct-2017
ISSN: 0360-3199
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 30470
End Page: 30492
Journal / Book Title: International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume: 42
Issue: 52
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( licenses/by/4.0/)
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (E
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/K503733/1
Keywords: 09 Engineering
03 Chemical Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Centre for Environmental Policy
Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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