In the transition to decarbonized energy systems, Power-to-Gas (PtG) processes have the potential to connect the existing markets for electricity and hydrogen. Specifically, reversible PtG systems can convert electricity to hydrogen at times of ample power supply, yet they can also operate in the reverse direction to deliver electricity during times when power is relatively scarce. Here we develop a model for determining when reversible PtG systems are economically viable. We apply the model to the current market environment in both Germany and Texas and find that the reversibility feature of unitized regenerative fuel cells (solid oxide) makes them already cost-competitive at current hydrogen prices, provided the fluctuations in electricity prices are as pronounced as currently observed in Texas. We further project that, due to their inherent flexibility, reversible PtG systems would remain economically viable at substantially lower hydrogen prices in the future, provided recent technological trends continue over the coming decade.
Glenk, Gunter and Stefan Reichelstein (2021), Energy Conversion and Storage: The Value of Reversible Power-to-Gas Systems, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 21-053, Mannheim. Download