Energy Conversion and Management ( IF 8.208 ) Pub Date : 2020-11-20 , DOI: 10.1016/j.enconman.2020.113649 G. Kakoulaki; I. Kougias; N. Taylor; F. Dolci; J. Moya; A. Jäger-Waldau
The increasing ambition of climate targets creates a major role for hydrogen especially in achieving carbon-neutrality in sectors presently difficult to decarbonise. This work examines to what extent the currently carbon-intensive hydrogen production in Europe could be replaced by water electrolysis using electricity from renewable energy resources (RES) such as solar photovoltaic, onshore/offshore wind and hydropower (green hydrogen). The study assesses the technical potential of RES at regional and national levels considering environmental constraints, land use limitations and various techno-economic parameters. It estimates localised clean hydrogen production and examines the capacity to replace carbon-intensive hydrogen hubs with ones that use RES-based water electrolysis. Findings reveal that -at national level- the available RES electricity potential exceeds the total electricity demand and the part for hydrogen production from electrolysis in all analysed countries. At regional level, from the 109 regions associated with hydrogen production (EU27 and UK), 88 regions (81%) show an excess of potential RES generation after covering the annual electricity demand across all sectors and hydrogen production. Notably, 84 regions have over 50% excess RES electricity potential after covering the total electricity demand and that for water electrolysis. The study provides evidence on the option to decarbonize hydrogen production at regional level. It shows that such transformation is possible and compatible with the ongoing transition towards carbon–neutral power systems in the EU. Overall, this work aims to serve as a tool for designing hydrogen strategies in harmony with renewable energy policies.