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DOE H2A Delivery Analysis

Hydrogen delivery is an essential component of any future hydrogen energy infrastructure. Hydrogen must be transported from the point of production to the point of use and handled within refueling stations or stationary power facilities. The scope of hydrogen delivery includes everything between the production unit (central or distributed) and the dispenser at a fueling station or stationary power facility.

In order to begin the task of hydrogen analysis, the H2A Analysis Group has developed the Hydrogen Delivery Scenario Analysis Model (HDSAM), the Hydrogen Refueling Station Analysis Model (HRSAM), and the Heavy-Duty Refueling Station Analysis Model (HDRSAM). All models follow the H2A approach to economic parameters transparency, color coding, and model layouts.

The HDSAM, HRSAM, and HDRSAM analysis tools are available through Argonne National Laboratory's hydrogen delivery infrastructure analysis website.

Overview of H2A Delivery Analysis

There are three broad delivery pathways: gaseous hydrogen delivery, cryogenic liquid hydrogen delivery, and novel solid or liquid hydrogen carriers. The liquid and gaseous pathways transport pure hydrogen in its molecular form via truck or pipeline. A carrier is a material that carries hydrogen in a form other than free hydrogen molecules. Carrier pathways transport hydrogen via truck or pipeline and require the return of spent fuel for reprocessing.

To date, H2A delivery analysis has focused on liquid and gaseous pathways using currently available technologies. Future analysis will investigate emerging and longer-term options for hydrogen delivery. Detailed, comprehensive analysis of the potential cost and performance of future delivery technologies and systems will be required to better understand their advantages and disadvantages for both the transition to and long-term use of hydrogen as a major energy carrier.

H2A Delivery Scenarios Analysis Model

Like other H2A-developed tools, the Hydrogen Delivery Scenario Analysis Model (HDSAM) uses engineering principles to simulate hydrogen facility designs, along with discounted cash analysis to estimate the levelized cost of hydrogen. For a given scenario (discussed below), a set of "components" (e.g., compressors, tanks, tube trailers, etc.) is specified, sized, and linked into a simulated delivery system or pathway infrastructure. Financial, economic, and technological assumptions are then used to compute the levelized cost of those components and their overall contribution to the delivered cost of hydrogen. These parameters can be changed by the user to simulate advancements in technology and changes in other costs or relevant characteristics.

Hydrogen delivery is defined to include the entire process of moving hydrogen from the gate of a central production plant onto a vehicle. Thus, delivery includes all transport, storage, and conditioning (e.g., compression, liquefaction, pipelines) from the outlet of a centralized hydrogen-production facility to and including a refueling station that compresses, stores, and dispenses the hydrogen.

Delivery Scenarios

The user defines a scenario by selecting a market type (e.g., urban, rural interstate, or a combination of the two); specifying its size, location (either a generic urbanized area of defined population or any of over 400 urbanized areas contained in a drop-down menu), and the market penetration of hydrogen-fueled vehicles in the total population of light-duty vehicles; selecting delivery modes for bulk transport from a production facility to a city gate and for local distribution; specifying a type of storage for plant downtimes and surge demands; and indicating a desired refueling station size.

Market size can vary from an urbanized area of 50,000 people to one of over 20 million people, and from an interstate highway segment of 10 miles to hundreds of miles. Market penetration can vary from 1% to 100%. Bulk transport can be via gaseous tube trailer, liquid hydrogen truck, or gaseous pipeline. Local distribution is generally via the same mode; however, for bulk transport via pipeline, local delivery may also be accomplished by any other mode.

Storage for plant outages and surge demands can be in geologic formations or as liquid hydrogen, and refueling stations can range from 50 kg to 6000 kg of hydrogen dispensed per day. Thus, delivery scenarios are combinations of (a) markets, (b) market penetrations, (c) delivery modes, (d) downtime storage, and (e) refueling station size, with an associated set of assumptions about market demand and infrastructure.

In reality, however, delivery scenarios are even more variable. The user can define a scenario further by changing such default values as the distance from a central production facility to the edge of the urban area, the average fuel economy of hydrogen and conventional light-duty vehicles, the city's rates of motorization (e.g., vehicles per person) and vehicle utilization (e.g., miles driven per vehicle per year), financial assumptions, and the characteristics and cost of any component in the delivery pathway.

Delivery Pathways

Within HDSAM, user selection of a delivery mode invokes an associated chain of delivery "components" or processes required to satisfy market demand. For example, if the user selects liquid hydrogen truck delivery (with liquid storage for plant downtimes and demand surges) for a given market, penetration rate, and refueling station size, the model calculates not only the number and cost of the trucks required to deliver the fuel to refueling stations, but also the cost of appropriately-sized liquefiers, pumps, vaporizers, dispensers, truck loading facilities, and storage vessels at terminals and refueling stations. Collectively, these steps or "components" are known as a pathway.

The figure below illustrates three broad liquid hydrogen pathways contained in Version 2.0 of the model. Note that because delivery is broken down into bulk transmission and local distribution—each of which can be by a different mode—loading, conditioning, and storage activities normally associated with a terminal or depot can be located anywhere between the production plant and the city gate. In Pathway 1, they are co-located with production; in Pathways 2 and 3, they are at the city gate.

This figure illustrates the three pathways contained in version 1.0 of the model.  The illustration of the first pathway shows a production facility box with arrows to a compressed gas truck and a sedan at a fueling station.  The illustration of the second pathway shows a production facility box with arrows to a liquid hydrogen truck and a sedan at a fueling station.  The illustration of the third pathway shows a production facility box with arrows to two pipelines and a sedan at a fueling station.

H2A Refueling Station Analysis Model and Heavy-Duty Refueling Station Analysis Model

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have developed the Hydrogen Refueling Station Analysis Model (HRSAM) and the Heavy-Duty Refueling Station Analysis Model (HDRSAM), which calculate the cost of hydrogen refueling as a function of various fueling station capacities and design configurations for light-duty as well as medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Unlike HDSAM, HRSAM and HDRSAM focus solely on refueling station costs. Both models incorporate the significant design aspects of refueling stations, including the size and cost of capital equipment, and the costs of operation and maintenance. Default values for model inputs are based on early market data, but they can be modified by a user to evaluate different refueling options. Station design parameters that are particularly significant to operators are highlighted in a separate easy-to-use interface; these parameters include annual projections of station utilization, the number of hoses a station has, the number of consecutive fills a station can complete, and the modes of hydrogen delivery the stations accepts. Users can also specify economic inputs, such as rate of return and debt-to-equity ratio. Using discounted cash flow analysis, the models then output the annual and cumulative cash flows, cost of refueling per kilogram of hydrogen, years required to break even on investment, total capital investment, and land area a given station requires.