In the context of UK energy policy, namely the Capacity Market, a futuristic peak power plant has been devised. This plant is modular in construction, and based on hydrogen as an energy storage medium. The module size is based on current demand for peak power (3MW for 2 hours, as stipulated in National Grid’s Short Term Operating Reserve scheme). The plant would buy electricity when it is cheap, run it through an electrolyser to make hydrogen, and store the hydrogen until the plant is required to deliver electricity, which would be done using a hydrogen fuel cell.
A tool (available for download on this website) has been created to investigate the financial performance of the plant, according to a variety of scenarios, and to give further information about the system itself. Inputs to the tool include current electricity demand and pricing data, information from manufacturers, and results of current pilot projects of similar type.
Scenarios have been identified in which the plant could be financially viable. These scenarios would require a different financial environment to the current one, but it is not unlikely that these, or equivalent conditions, may occur in the future. The most important factors would be equipment costs (capital and running) and the difference between purchase and sale price of electricity. Any future government support may also play an important role. Alternative markets, such as the transport sector, and practical and environmental considerations, may also prove significant.
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