Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.


Issue 10, 2014
Previous Article Next Article

Life-cycle net energy assessment of large-scale hydrogen production via photoelectrochemical water splitting

Author affiliations

Abstract

Here we report a prospective life-cycle net energy assessment of a hypothetical large-scale photoelectrochemical (PEC) hydrogen production facility with energy output equivalent to 1 GW continuous annual average (1 GW HHV = 610 metric tons of H2 per day). We determine essential mass and energy flows based on fundamental principles, and use heuristic methods to conduct a preliminary engineering design of the facility. We then develop and apply a parametric model describing system-wide energy flows associated with the production, utilization, and decommissioning of the facility. Based on these flows, we calculate and interpret life-cycle net energy metrics for the facility. We find that under base-case conditions the energy payback time is 8.1 years, the energy return on energy invested (EROEI) is 1.7, and the life-cycle primary energy balance over the 40 years projected service life of the facility is +500 PJ. The most important model parameters affecting the net energy metrics are the solar-to-hydrogen (STH) conversion efficiency and the life span of the PEC cells; parameters associated with the balance of systems (BOS), including construction and operation of the liquid and gas handling infrastructure, play a much smaller role.

Graphical abstract: Life-cycle net energy assessment of large-scale hydrogen production via photoelectrochemical water splitting

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
01 Apr 2014
Accepted
16 Jun 2014
First published
16 Jun 2014

Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 3264-3278
Article type
Analysis
Author version available

Life-cycle net energy assessment of large-scale hydrogen production via photoelectrochemical water splitting

R. Sathre, C. D. Scown, W. R. Morrow, J. C. Stevens, I. D. Sharp, J. W. Ager, K. Walczak, F. A. Houle and J. B. Greenblatt, Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, 7, 3264
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE01019A

Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements