Economic Potential of Wind-Hydrogen

Study for the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure 

The increasing share of fluctuating wind and solar energy in power generation results in growing temporary overcapacities. In order to make use of the resulting electricity surplus, energy storage is required. Hydrogen is a medium for stockpiling energy over long periods. 

PLANET led a project to investigate the integration of wind-hydrogen systems on power plant scale into the energy system. The study was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. 
Its objective was to establish the conditions that facilitate an economically viable operation of wind-hydrogen systems in the long term. 

With respect to generating revenue, the work focussed on two markets:
  • Using hydrogen as a fuel for road vehicles
  • Re-electrifying hydrogen and offering power on the spot market, respectively providing balancing power 

The fuel market turned out to be particularly lucrative. Hydrogen produced from surplus renewable electricity can be provided at prices that – in comparison with conventional fuels – result in the same or even lower fuel cost per kilometre driven. Moreover, the fleet of fuel cell cars, which is expected in the northern half of Germany in 2030, can be supplied with “green” hydrogen by more than 90%. 

Operating in two very different markets – fuel and power – also creates flexibility and synergies. This increases the economic potential.

Study (German)    
Abstract (English)    
Abstract (German)   

Key data 

The study was carried out in the framework of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) and published in April 2014. 

PLANET as the principal contractor coordinated and shaped the work. Project partners were:
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI), Karlsruhe
  • KBB Underground Technologies GmbH, Hannover
  • University of Applied Sciences Lübeck, PROJEKT-GMBH
  • University of Applied Sciences Stralsund, Institute for Energy and Environment.