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Develop and demonstrate a 100 MW electrolyser upscaling the link between renewables and commercial/industrial applications
Deadline: Jan 26, 2021  
- 53 days

 Innovation
 Renewable Energy
 Environment
 Transport
 Horizon2020
 Climate Sciences
 Research
 Project Management
 Pollution
 Green Deal

Specific Challenge:

The European long term decarbonisation strategy (LTS) “A Clean Planet for All” published by the European Commission in November 2018 refers to the potential key role of hydrogen in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors, such as industry, cement, steel, and also contributing to decarbonisation of heavy duty and long distance transport.

To help achieve the climate neutrality objective, hydrogen needs to be produced at large scale, mainly through electrolysis powered by renewable electricity. The LTS scenarios achieving climate neutrality envisage an installed electrolyser capacity ranging between 400 and 511 GW by 2050 in the EU. However today the technology is only available at multi-MW scale (a 20 MW electrolyser project is being implemented through the co-funding of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, under the call 2018).

In order to reach the GW scale, an important milestone would be the development and demonstration of a 100MW electrolyser.

The challenge for this topic is to develop larger modules than the state of the art, with reduced balance of plant, managing efficiently the input power, the output hydrogen and oxygen streams, as well as the heat flows, while ensuring the reliability of the system and reducing the footprint through a more compact design. It is expected that the development of bigger modules will help create economies of scale, thus leading to further cost reductions.

The modules will then be assembled into a 100MW electrolyser system, which will be tested and demonstrated in real life conditions, operating flexibly to harvest maximum renewable power. The system will provide grid-balancing services as well as supplying renewable hydrogen to a commercial/industrial application. The hydrogen purity should meet the hydrogen market requirements. The output pressure should be designed to fulfil, when possible, the required pressure for the hydrogen application targeted - including buffer storage needs if any - and reduce as far as possible the need for dedicated hydrogen compression units downstream. The performance and the durability of the electrolyser operating dynamically need to be assessed and potential safety issues addressed.

The activities related to the development of test methodologies, protocols and procedures for the performance and durability assessment of electrolyser components could envisage a collaboration with JRC in order to support the EU-wide harmonisation of testing protocols to benchmark performance and quantify technology progress. Where possible, the collaboration with JRC could include electrolyser component testing.

Scope:

The scope of this project is to install and operate a 100 MW electrolyser to produce renewable hydrogen, as energy carrier or as a feedstock. Specific activities are:

The main activity will consist of:

  • Development, installation and operation a 100 MW electrolyser for managing and using efficiently renewable energy, water, Hydrogen and Oxygen flows;
  • Demonstrate the increased usage and economic impact of RES mix, addressing potential curtailment issues in Demand Response operation (if grid connected) or island mode functioning (if dedicated to hydrogen production);
  • Operation of an electrolyser system in real life conditions in an industrial or port environment, for example feeding a mobility hub, a fertiliser production plant, a synthetic fuel production plant, a refinery, biorefinery or other industries, or injecting in natural gas transmission/distribution grid;
  • Investigate possibility to make use of rejected heat or vented Oxygen;
  • Operating pressure should be suitable for the application & any buffering / compression requirements.

Other activities will consist of economic, safety, social/societal impact and environmental assessments:

  • Demonstration of the future economic viability of the technology depending on cost of electricity and hours of operation of the electrolyser. The effect of intermittent generation on the cost-effectiveness of large electrolysers should be taken into account;
  • Reduce footprint and address potential health and safety issues;
  • Evaluation of the environmental performance of the system, notably in terms of GHG emissions reduction in line with the methodology of the Renewable Energy Directive II and in terms of water consumption;
  • Evaluation of other ecological and societal benefits along the value chain;

The project should help develop a European value chain by building on technology and business concepts developed by European companies.

Mandatory knowledge sharing activity:

  • Cross border dimension and knowledge sharing within Europe: as part of mandatory activities, organise 3 workshops, out of which at least 2 in European countries, outside of the beneficiary’s main implantation, involving policy makers and energy stakeholders, to share knowledge on experience gathered and replication of experiences.
  • Contribute to addressing common challenges, information (like reporting on impact indicators) and dissemination activities through cooperation with other relevant projects funded by the European Commission in the context of this call.

To ensure that projects jointly contribute to energy system integration, and create synergies and supply chains for Hydrogen, through synergies between, and to enhance the visibility of H2020 supported actions, projects are requested to reserve a small part of their funding to such cooperation.

The knowledge to be shared will cover the whole project cycle including project management, procurement, permitting, construction, commissioning, performance, cost level and cost per unit performance, environmental impacts, health and safety, as well as needs for further research and development.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 25 - 30 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Due to the nature of the supported developments that undertake innovation activities in a market environment, funding rate is reduced to 50%. Funding for proposals being part of a larger project will be related to the eligible costs based on the innovative part of the project. The topic aims to support different electrolysis technologies.

Projects should have a duration of 5 years, with at least 2 years of operation. Capital equipment can be amortised outside the 5 years of the grant duration.

Combination with other EU or national financing instruments will be incentivised, namely the usage of financial instruments to de-risk the operational activity, covering the hydrogen off-take in particular in the ramping-up of the project. The grid connection costs, building costs and the electricity costs for the commissioning phase are eligible for funding. Electricity costs during demonstration / business operation are not eligible.

The project has to include a clear go/no go decision point ahead of entering the deployment phase. Before this go/no go decision point, the project has to deliver detailed engineering plans, a complete business and implementation plan and all the required permits for the deployment of the project. A committee of independent experts will assess all deliverables and will give advice on the go/no go decision.

Expected Impact:

The proposed topic of the call for proposals is expected to have the following impacts:

Technological impacts:

  • Establish a European industry capable of developing novel hundreds of MW electrolysers using a European value chain, consisting of modules and a suitable balance of plant for managing power (electricity and heat), water, Hydrogen and Oxygen flows;
  • Increase the efficiency of the electrolyser reaching an energy consumption of 49 (ALK) to 52 (PEM) kWh/kg H2 at nominal power;
  • Increase the current density to at least 0,5A/cm2 (ALK) or 3A/cm2 (PEM) and delivery pressure to 30 bar. Power electronics should allow for dynamic operation of electrolyser from 25 to 100% in seconds (following the JRC harmonised testing protocols);
  • Reduce the plant’s footprint by 30% thanks to the larger modules and the plant layout as well as the higher current densities;
  • Reduce the electrolyser CAPEX by 20% down to EUR 480/kW and EUR 700/kW for Alkaline and PEM electrolysers respectively, meeting the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking targets for 2024;
  • Increase the stack lifetime with a degradation target (Minimum nominal energy consumption at end of Life) of 0.12%/1000 hours for Alkaline and 0.19%/1000 hours for PEM;
  • Improve the overall efficiency valorising also by-product heat (e.g. for space heating).

Operational and environmental impacts:

  • Demonstrating feasible operation of 100 MW-scale electrolysis and the use of the produced hydrogen in an application valorising the renewable character of the produced hydrogen;
  • Assessment and operational experience, including safety, of the contractual and hardware arrangements required to distribute and supply hydrogen to the specific industrial and/or transport market;
  • Assessment of feasibility to connect the electrolyser to a production site of renewable sources of energy such as offshore/onshore wind, or solar plants;
  • Technical assessment of the suitability of the electrolyser equipment to operate in its expected environment and suggestion of best practices;
  • Evaluation of the environmental performance of the system (in alignment with RED II compliant methodologies) – with attention to the CO2 intensity of the hydrogen produced versus Natural Gas route, which should include an understanding of the CO2 impact of the grid services mode selected and CO2 footprint impact in the addressed hydrogen end-user markets;
  • Evaluation of other ecological and societal benefits along the value chain.

Cost competitiveness impacts:

  • Demonstrate a compelling economic and environmental case, including boundary conditions, for key applications such as transport, energy storage, raw material (hydrogen and oxygen) or heat and power production. For a LCOE of up to EUR 40/MWh (renewable sources), achieve a significant cost reduction of green hydrogen compared to the price at the time of proposal submission striving for below EUR 3 /kg and aim for further reductions possibly also by generating income from the provision of services to the electricity grid (e.g. balancing or frequency services).

Additional end study impacts addressed directly to the European Commission:

  • Assessment of the legislative and Regulations, Codes, and Standards (RCS) implications of these systems and any issues identified in obtaining consents to operate the system;
  • Recommendations for policy makers and regulators on measures helping to maximise the value of renewable energy and stimulate the market for renewables-electrolyser systems.

Proposals are expected to bring the technologies from TRL 6/7 to TRL 8 at the end of the project.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Clean Energy



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