On optimal investment strategies for a hydrogen refueling station
Journal article, 2007
The uncertainty and cost of changing from a fossil-fuel-based society to a hydrogen-based society are considered to be extensive obstacles to the introduction of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). The absence of existing profitable refueling stations has been shown to be one of the major barriers. This paper investigates methods for calculating an optimal transition from a gasoline refueling station to future methane and hydrogen combined use with an on site small-scale reformer for methane. In particular, we look into the problem of matching the hydrogen capacity of a single refueling station to an increasing demand. Based on an assumed future development scenario, optimal investment strategies are calculated. First, a constant utilization of the hydrogen reformer is assumed in order to find the minimum hydrogen production cost. Second, when considerations such as periodic maintenance are taken into account, optimal control is used to concurrently find both a short term equipment variable utilization for one week and a long term strategy. The result is a minimum hydrogen production cost of $4-6/kg, depending on the number of reinvestments during a 20 year period. The solution is shown to yield minimum hydrogen production cost for the individual refueling station, but the solution is sensitive to variations in the scenario parameters. (c) 2006 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.