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Production and use of electrolytic hydrogen in Ecuador towards a low carbon economy

Manuel Raul Pelaez-Samaniego, Gustavo Riveros-Godoy, Santiago Torres-Contreras, Tsai Garcia-Perez and Esteban Albornoz-Vintimilla

Energy, 2014, vol. 64, issue C, 626-631

Abstract: This paper presents a pre-feasibility study of producing and using electrolytic hydrogen in Ecuador as part of a strategy towards a low carbon economy. Hydrogen could be produced using hydropower either alone or combined with other renewable energy sources. For this study, we analyzed two scenarios of energy availability based on data from the largest hydroelectric power plant in the country. The first scenario assumes that an amount of water equivalent to 30% of that spilled in 2011 could be used to generate additional electricity. Thus, an additional amount of energy equivalent to 5% of the energy produced in 2011 could be available. The second scenario doubles this amount of energy. Economic analysis showed that to obtain low-cost hydrogen (3.00 US$/kg) it is necessary to operate the electrolysis plants 24 h/day, using low-cost electricity (30 US$/MWh). A continuous supply of energy could be possible when new hydroelectric utilities start operating or by integrating hydropower with solar and wind. Three possibilities for using hydrogen are discussed: 1) production of ammonia as a raw material for nitrogenous fertilizers, 2) hydro-treating heavy oils and bio-oils in oil refineries, and 3) as an energy storage medium to offset natural instability and unpredictability of renewables.

Keywords: Hydrogen; Low carbon economy; Renewable energy; Smart grid; Ecuador (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:64:y:2014:i:c:p:626-631