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Hydrogen systems : what contribution to the energy system? Findings from multiple modelling approaches

Abstract : Hydrogen… This simple, very abundant element holds great promise to contribute to the transition towards a cleaner future energy system, but under which techno-economic and political conditions? This thesis is a contribution to the assessment of the hydrogen penetration feasibility into the energy system, using a multi-model approach. The focus is put on low-carbon hydrogen, obtained by electrolysis.Our multi-regional analysis on the European, American, Chinese and Japanese energy context (presenting contrasted energy challenges) show that, with the current energy policies implemented which result in a modest penetration of hydrogen into the energy system, hydrogen may achieve approximately 3% of the effort that needs to be done by the four regions, in order to limit the increase of the temperature to 2°C, compared to preindustrial levels. We highlight in this thesis that blending hydrogen with natural gas, and thereby avoiding methane leakages to a certain extent, may represent a significant contribution in achieving the carbon mitigation goals.The hydrogen market analysis has been carried out following two steps. First, each market (industrial and energy-related) was tackled aside in order to propose market entry costs considering the four energy contexts and investigate the timeframe of the market penetration potential. Then, the different hydrogen applications were examined within the overall energy system through the TIMES-PT model (for a Portugal case study), allowing to investigate the hydrogen potential for energy sector coupling. Based on this work, the markets attractiveness was evaluated: mobility (using fuel cell vehicles) appears to be the most favourable.Then, we tackled the required costs over the whole hydrogen supply chain in order to enter the mobility market.To do so, we used temporally and spatially resolved models (GLAES, EuroPower and InfraGis) starting with the production side where we studied the hydrogen potential role in providing the electricity system with flexibility and the impact of such electrolysis operation on the hydrogen generation costs in the context of high shares of renewable energies in France. Our results show that hydrogen can contribute to improve the flexibility of the electric system by allowing avoiding renewable curtailment (between 1.4 and 7.9 TWh depending on the interconnection capacity scenario) but also by taking advantage of nuclear plant available energy (thereby avoiding nuclear ramping), the latter ensuring a low carbon and low cost electricity provision. However, a special attention needs to be dedicated to the utilisation rate of the electrolyser, to keep the hydrogen production costs low enough.Last but not least, we focused on how to link the hydrogen production sites and its final use for mobility applications, the delivery infrastructure being a major issue hampering the hydrogen investments. Five transport and delivery pathways were geographically designed and economically assessed, for the French case. According to our findings, during the very first market penetration phases (1% scenario), it is more interesting to start with decentralised production that proved to be less expensive for the whole pathway at this stage.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 16, 2019 - 4:33:27 PM
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Olfa Tlili. Hydrogen systems : what contribution to the energy system? Findings from multiple modelling approaches. Chemical and Process Engineering. Université Paris Saclay (COmUE), 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLC083⟩. ⟨tel-02414562⟩

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