Can hydrogen compete with lithium-ion batteries for seasonal storage?

July 7, 2021
Solar Panel, Wind Turbines and Li-ion Battery Container

Non-emitting variable renewable energy (VRE) resources are needed on the power grid if the United States is to “deeply decarbonize” the power sector. The intermittent nature of these resources makes them difficult to integrate into the power system. Existing energy storage technologies, such as lithium-ion (LI) batteries, could be used to aid the integration of these resources, but these technologies are sized to produce power for hours at a time before needing to be charged again. While these energy storage technologies could address daily imbalances between supply and demand for electric power, they cannot address the seasonal nature of power production of VREs.

In this paper titled “Techno-economic analysis of balancing California’s power system on a seasonal basis: Hydrogen vs. lithium-ion batteries,” CRA’s Drake Hernandez and MIT Energy Initiative’s Emre Gençer detail a methodology to estimate the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of meeting this seasonal imbalance with either a hydrogen-fired gas turbine (HFGT) or lithium-ion battery system (LI) as a measure of economic efficiency of the technologies.

Key contacts