Report Archive | 2016

Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: Opportunities for Growth – A Roadmap for the UK

Hydrogen could bring significant benefits to the UK’s energy system: heating homes and businesses, powering vehicles, and balancing intermittent renewables. This new roadmap provides an industrial strategy for hydrogen and fuel cells to play a greater role in the UK’s energy mix. In developing the roadmap, E4tech and Element Energy conducted detailed analysis and a series of workshops and bilateral discussions with stakeholders. This allowed us to produce ‘mini-roadmaps’ addressing 11 sectors in detail, and to bring together the most important aspects into an overarching document with four themes:

Hydrogen as a major component of a future low carbon energy system, where it can bring significant benefits as a low carbon route to energy supply, and through providing services to energy networks. The gas network could be converted to hydrogen, to provide low carbon heating. Hydrogen could enable more widespread penetration of renewable electricity. When combined with carbon capture and storage, hydrogen production can provide a route to low or even negative greenhouse gas emissions. None of these options are yet available at the scale required to deliver major energy system benefits, and so the actions recommended here are to prepare the UK to take advantage of these potential solutions.

Hydrogen in transport, and how it can help to improve air quality and contribute to decarbonisation. While application in cars is important, hydrogen is also well suited to heavier vehicles operating daily duty cycles. The UK could benefit from a focus on developing larger buses, trucks, vans and even boats, where there is already significant industrial strength. The main action here is to support UK companies producing these vehicles and their components,  complemented by actions to prepare the UK market for the introduction of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles of all types.

Fuel cell CHP, improving the efficiency of energy use today. These systems can run on natural gas cleanly and efficiently in the short term, and bio-based gases or hydrogen longer term. Actions here include supporting UK companies in validating and introducing small scale fuel cell CHP, creating a fair playing field within regulations, and developing business models that capture some of the wider benefits of fuel cell CHP systems.

Fuel cells used in products that bring functionality benefits in their own right. Portable power, remote power using portable fuels and unmanned aerial vehicles each have a potentially important role to play in commercialising hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Actions are concentrated around showcasing the products, awareness-raising amongst potential buyers, as well as removing unnecessary barriers.

hfcpr02The graphic shows how the use of hydrogen and fuel cells in our energy system could be developed. The period to 2020 focuses on expanding the use of technologies available today, such as vehicles, fuel cell CHP and portable and specialist fuel cells, whilst planning and preparing for a greater role for hydrogen in the energy system. In 2020-2025 activity ramps up, with construction of systems needed for conversion of the gas grid to hydrogen, use of hydrogen in a wider range of vehicles, and multiple projects bringing regional benefits through production and use of hydrogen. After 2025 widespread use of hydrogen in heating, transport and industry is enabled by staged conversion of the gas grid, with low carbon hydrogen produced by routes including CCS.

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Fuel cell market opportunities for emergency power systems up to 100 kW

NOWreport

 

This report is the result of a study conducted on behalf of Clean Power Net (CPN) entitled “Sichere Stromversorgung für die digitale Gesellschaft – Untersuchung des europäischen Marktes für Netzersatzanlagen bis 100 kW Leistung” (Secure supply of electricity for the digital society – examination of the European market for emergency power systems up to 100kW) which evaluated the market opportunities of fuel cell systems in special markets. It discusses the sales potential of conventional stationary Emergency Power Systems (EPS) up to 100kW  in nine selected European countries as well as on the Cape Verde islands. EPS applications considered include: BOS (public authority and emergency services) radio base stations; telecommunications infrastructure; rail infrastructure; power supply network operations; data centres; and road weather stations.

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Low Carbon Automotive Propulsion Technologies

The low carbon and air quality agendas are driving rapid technological change in transport propulsion systems, creating new opportunities, whilst simultaneously threatening established supply chain positions.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre, along with E4tech and Ricardo, conducted a study on behalf of the Automotive Council to identify the technology-led disruptions to established automotive supply chains that could provide the opportunity to grow and sustain low carbon propulsion-related strategic capabilities in the UK.

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Policies for Storing Renewable Energy – A scoping study of policy considerations for energy storage (RE-STORAGE)

 

Energy storage is sometimes seen as essential to integrating large shares of renewables into the energy system. But its specific characteristics, and its possible role in linking different sectors of the energy system, pose challenges to policy makers. IEA-RETD commissioned E4tech to identify the most important challenges and propose “no regrets” policy recommendations to meet those challenges.

Our report describes the potential role of storage in an evolving energy system, considering likely new flexibility requirements. It discusses the services that storage can provide to deliver this flexibility and analyses relevant policy, regulation and market design from different perspectives:

  1. The importance of system approaches in energy transition policies: Energy transition policies sometimes fail to consider wider system impacts and the need for enabling technology such as storage. Neither demand nor generation, and sometimes linking sectors, storage is often affected by broad energy system policy – sometimes with unintended negative consequences. Conversely, policies often fail to take advantage of the potential benefits of enabling technologies, like storage.
  2. Storage deployment in the legacy framework: the current framework emerged from a system dominated by large scale thermal generators. Storage, like other novel technologies, is poorly suited to this long-term and relatively rigid framework. Moreover, part of the value of storage technologies is not considered by the current markets and regulations. This can impede storage deployment.
  3. Uncertainty about the performance of storage technologies: Many storage technologies are not well understood by stakeholders. Harmonisation of codes, standards, regulation and testing could make the technologies more comparable and approachable. Uncertainties in the market and policy framework further hamper investment in storage.
  4. The privileged position of system operators: Only system operators can assess the actual bottlenecks and local needs in the electricity grid. As much of the value of individual storage assets lies in the removal of local bottlenecks, system operators have a unique perspective on the real value of and need for storage. However, restrictions on the ownership of storage limits their involvement in storage deployment.

The study provides recommendations for policy makers and other stakeholders to engage in energy storage deployment, ensuring it is aligned with wider system needs.

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