Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Energy storage based upon converting electricity from water to hydrogen gas provides a solution to the problem of intermittency in renewable energy systems. These benefits are not specific to isolated solar and wind energy production but can also be derived as a complement to load and demand variations on the fully integrated electrical grid. The main components of this system are electrolytic cells, which use electricity to generate hydrogen and oxygen from water, compressed gas hydrogen and oxygen storage tanks and fuel cells, which recombine hydrogen with oxygen to generate electricity. At times of excess energy availability, electrolytic cells are used as a controllable load by which the excess energy is converted into hydrogen and oxygen gas. When there is insufficient energy to meet demands, the fuel cell is used to recombine hydrogen and oxygen into water and create electricity. Water storage and compressed gasses can be used to further tune the load. Water can be pumped from one reservoir to another to create artificial demand, and can be allowed to flow by gravitational power to create electricity on demand. Compressed gasses can similarly be managed to create load or increase generation capacity at will. These complements are key to effectively managing electrolytic cell arrays for maximum potential, but also provide for very high versatility and resilience of the system, which can allow operators to micro-manage electrical supplies and demands. This work examines the technical details of such systems and extracts some of the lessons learned from more than fifty years of related research, prototyping and implementations.

Publication Title

2014 5th International Renewable Energy Congress (IREC)



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