Hydrogen-powered by solar energy to be sold below $2/kg by the year 2030

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have unveiled regions that can generate hydrogen via the photovoltaic electrolysis process in the U.S. By the end of the decade, and it will have costs varying from $1.90 per kilogram to $4.20 per kilogram.

In some regions of the United States, Green Hydrogen production might become cost-competitive as opposed to blue hydrogen at the end of the decade. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers assert that electrolysis powered by solar for hydrogen generation could cost about $2.50 per kilogram or even less by the end of the decade. 

The scientists provided a prototype of an isolated PV-H2 structure with no link with the power grid, and it will sell extra energy or purchase electricity during the rainy season. Any existing system may be linked to or not; however, the analysis provides a limited case. Off-grid Photovoltaic powered electrolysis is a good option since it will be exposed to intra-day and intra-year energy cost volatility.  

The proposed prototype 

In the projected prototype, scientists optimized photovoltaic, electrolysis, energy storage, and other components responsible for stability to facilitate total hydrogen production. Simultaneously, deviation in time during photovoltaic output throughout the year will differ among the considerations on board. 

The only way to accomplish the model is by resolving an incorporated blueprint and operations optimization model in the entire year. The outline will evaluate the trade-offs between energy storage or hydrogen and the emerging impact on stable prices. The researchers carried out a spatial examination of stable solar-powered hydrogen production costs in the United States as it considered the price each part will cost, parameters, and other factors of the structure.  

The scenario reflects a decrease in electrolysis price from the current $800/kW to $500/kW by 2030. The picture entails a surge in electrolysis efficiency that anticipates progress from 58% to 70%, basing on a lower heating value (LHV).  Also, there is a reduction in capital expenses for the pressure structure of storing hydrogen compared to this year’s costs. 

The scientists stated that the availability of affordable geological storage makes it competent to use photovoltaic electricity at any time it is required. As a result, a structure with environmental hydrogen leads to a substantial relative electrolyzer in size.  The electrolyzer will have a lower photovoltaic installed capacity with massive hydrogen storage instead of other models with a costly hydrogen pressure structure.