Ignore variability, overestimate hydrogen production – Quantifying the effects of electrolyzer efficiency curves on hydrogen production from renewable energy sources

In this new paper with Dan Virah-Sawmy and Fiona J Beck we show that neglecting the variable electrolyzer efficiency, as is commonly done in studies of green hydrogen, leads to significant overestimation of hydrogen production in the range of 5–24%

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360319924020676

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of including (or neglecting) the variable efficiency of hydrogen electrolyzers as a function of operating power in the modelling of green hydrogen produced from variable renewable energy sources. Results show that neglecting the variable electrolyzer efficiency, as is commonly done in studies of green hydrogen, leads to significant overestimation of hydrogen production in the range of 5–24%. The effects of the time resolution used in models are also investigated, as well as the impact of including the option for the electrolyzer to switch to stand-by mode instead of powering down and electrolyzer ramp rate constraints. Results indicate that these have a minor effect on overall hydrogen production, with the use of hour resolution data leading to overestimation in the range of 0.2–2%, relative to using 5-min data. This study used data from three solar farms and three wind in Australia, from which it is observed that wind farms produced 55% more hydrogen than the solar farms. The results in this study highlight the critical importance of including the variable efficiency of electrolyzers in the modelling of green hydrogen production. As this industry scales, continuing to neglect this effect would lead to the overestimation of hydrogen production by tens of megatonnes.

SwitchedOn podcast on Energy Equity

Delighted to be on RenewEconomy & Boundless Earth SwitchedOn podcast kicking off a discussion of how to *truly* improve energy equity https://reneweconomy.com.au/switchedon-podcast-free-electricity-to-cover-essential-needs/

“A popular refrain of the renewable energy transition is it will deliver an energy system that is more democratic, as well as decarbonised. That the political power of generating energy will shift from big power companies to households, as a result of us being able to generate and control electrical power from our rooftop solar, batteries, electric vehicles, etc.

But this decentralised, democratic narrative isn’t a foregone conclusion…”

Participation and sensemaking in electric vehicle field trials: A study of fleet vehicle-to-grid in Australia

We have just published a new article from the REVS V2G trial about how participants in a field trial – in this case, the fleet, sustainability and asset managers – make sense of and influence technologies when a group comes along wanting to deploy and test them.

We found unexpected effects which revealed insights about what configuration of V2G might be acceptable to fleet end users. If energy market participants want V2G to solve their problems (and make them profit), they need to do the flexibility work.

Abstract

Vehicle-to-grid is a niche technology that has the potential to benefit electricity markets and support more renewable energy in the grid. However, interest from prospective users in adopting V2G is not well understood, particularly in the context of fleet vehicles. Technology-oriented field trials can contribute to the development of niche technologies. Trials usually focus on making engineered systems work, institutional embedding and testing business models. However, through the participation of users they also provide the opportunity to explore processes of problem definition and the formation of social, ethical and cultural meanings. This article presents findings from the Realising Electric Vehicle-to-grid Services project, an Australian trial of vehicle-to-grid in a government-owned light passenger car fleet, aiming to explore co-productive processes as essential aspects of participatory technology development. Our data comprises interviews with organisational actors responsible for facilitating and mediating the trial, as well as others in similar organisational roles. Adopting ecologies of participation as a framework, it reveals the productive effects of these actors in mediating the local embedding of vehicle-to-grid. These findings challenge the framing of vehicle-to-grid as being a question of consumer acceptance and suggest that, for this promising technology to contribute to a more sustainable future, the electricity sector must accept more risk.

Full article: https://lnkd.in/eukchts2

Strata solar in Qld

Story in SBS about how an Australian physicist found a way to shave 10% off his neighbours’ power bills.

Arkadiy Matsekh changed the billing system of the embedded network of his housing complex. As a result, his neighbours are saving up to 10 per cent on their power bills.

Dr Sturmberg believes that the greatest achievement of this particular body corporate is that the community was able to reach an agreement and embrace change.

“Dr Matsekh seems to have done a lot of work by actually talking to his neighbours and getting their support,” he says.

“The bigger impact of what he has done is not kilowatt-hours of solar that he has produced. But the social expectations that he is setting in his neighbourhood.

The message to the broader society says that ‘everyone deserves access to cheap and clean power’.

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Video insight into the EnergiZine experiences

This has been one of the most engaging – and out there – projects I’ve ever had been involved in. It was an absolute privelidge to work with Brad Riley and collaborators in the First Nations Clean Energy Network on the content, Mitchell Whitelaw and Dave Fanner from the Engaged ANU on the creative engagement, and Tristan Schultz from Relative Creative who designed the richly layered absurdist mnemonic experience.

The created Zines can be viewed here.

My speech from the events:

Let me add my respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri custodians of the beautiful and unceded land on which we’re gathered this evening and to all First Nations people who have cared for country since time immemorial.

The theme of tonight is wellness.

Everything you’ll be exposed to and will have to deliberate on and choose between effects your wellness and the wellness of your communities and the earth.

We don’t ever think or talk about our role at the ANU in terms of wellness, but really everything we do is in service of this goal: the wellness of individuals, communities, and the planet.

Now not everything you’ll find on these tables will assist with wellness. After all, a key part of wellness is avoiding that which makes you unwell: be that stress, junk food, pollution, etc.

And you can’t always trust what you read in wellness magazines and labels, you’ve got to critically investigate to uncover the complex interrelations and impacts of things.

This too is a vital part of our job at the ANU – to uncover and analyse that which makes people and places unwell. So keep an eye out for this tonight.

And with that, I wish you luck in nurturing, navigating, and crafting your wellness energy transition. I hope it’s as stimulating and engaging to complete as it’s been to create.

Engaged ANU event at Questacon

Immerse yourself in an absurd wellness ritual, and design your renewable energy future in the style of a wellness EnergiZine.

In this immersive journey, we embrace the strange obsession of modern culture with wellness and extend its fascination to our energy choices. Like a vibrant metabolic soup, energy systems and sub-systems interplay, offering trade-offs and options for just transitions. Through cutting, pasting, hacking, crafting, mapping, and layering, you will design your renewable energy futures in the style of a wellness EnergiZine, tailored for your own home, workplace, and community memory places. Nourishing the soul, you’ll explore renewable energy sources that nurture our planet and promote our wellbeing.

Drawing on the intelligence of Indigenous knowledge systems, you’ll develop mnemonic techniques to store your energy knowledge for later use. Guest speakers, including First Nations experts and ANU researchers, share perspectives that enrich your EnergiZine.

Join us in this remarkable experience where wellness and energy transitions intertwine. Let the workshop’s immersive atmosphere fuel your creativity and inspire conscious choices. Don’t be left in the dark. As the sun dips below the horizon, let your EnergiZine shine, illuminating a path to a sustainable energy future for ourselves and the planet we call home.

Response to Saul Griffith’s “The Wires That Bind”

This correspondence was originally published in the June 2023 edition of the Quarterly Essay, in response to the March 2023 edition by Saul Griffith.


While the pivotal role of electrification in decarbonisation has been understood for decades, it has rarely been described as vividly or enthusiastically as by Saul Griffith in The Wires That Bind. Griffith recognises that electrification is a story, at its heart, not about decarbonisation but about cleaning the air in our kitchens and streets, improving the liveability of our homes and communities, and “keeping wealth in our households and communities” – and nation. In short, electrification is a story about a better future.

While attuned to this human story of electrification, Griffith is, at heart, an engineer so it’s no surprise that The Wires That Bind is packed full of figures. Emissions are carved up, the grid is mapped and fossil machines are counted. This achieves Griffith’s goal of “clarity about the job in front of us” and complements his persuasive case for electrifying everything. The question that remains is: how can the transition best be accelerated and steered towards just and enduring outcomes?

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Community batteries are popular – but we have to make sure they actually help share power

New article in The Conversation today. Excerpt below.


The idea is for these batteries to reduce carbon emissions and energy bills while benefiting all energy users nearby, rather than only those with access to rooftop solar. These are great ambitions – small wonder they’ve proven a hit.

But the success of these batteries is far from certain.

Over the last four years, our research has found two areas we have to fix to maximise the chances these batteries actually do what we want them to do.

First, we need greater clarity on how we decide whether community batteries are a good investment.

Second, we need better measurement and evaluation of what these batteries actually contribute to the grid and to energy users.


In a new discussion paper, this article’s lead author argues the primary purpose of community batteries ought to be addressing constraint in the local electricity grid. This reiterates a consistent finding from our research.

While this sounds reasonable, community batteries aren’t the only option to fix local grid issues. That means we should only turn to them where they are clearly better than the alternatives, such as upgrading transformers.

What about storing solar and shoring up the grid? These tasks may be done more efficiently and with less environmental impact with grid-scale batteries, pumped hydro or electric vehicle batteries.

And what about sharing the benefits of solar with people who can’t afford an array or who have nowhere to put one? While this vision is in line with public sentiment, the complexity of the privatised energy system makes it very difficult to redistribute financial benefits.

Community batteries are also no panacea for the desire of people to see and be included in national planning for the decarbonisation transition. An inclusive planning process can address uncertainties in how the transition will affect us and our communities and ensure it upholds public values.

Time will tell if the newly announced Net Zero Authority will deliver this.