By Ed Chao ’06, Marshall Chase ’06, Kriss Jadd ’07

Abstract: Hydrogen has received great attention in recent years as an energy storage and transmission medium, given its potential environmental, national energy security, and performance benefits. DTE Energy and the United States Department of Energy have established the Hydrogen Technology Park (“Park”) in Southfield, Michigan, a technology validation program consisting of an operating, demonstration facility with hydrogen electrolysers, compressed hydrogen storage, dispenser, and fuel cells. An engineering-economic analysis developed in this study, based on Park operating data and costs, estimates the current levelized cost of hydrogen ranging from $12.33 to $21.32/kg H2 (for hypothetical Park-like facilities with output of 1,200 and 100 kg H2/day, respectively), which is significantly higher than estimates made by other studies. Combining a fuel cell array with a neighborhood hydrogen filling station would result in an estimated current levelized cost of fuel cell electricity ranging from $2.09 to $2.13/kWh (for power generation of 5,000 kWh/day). The study concludes that the Park, with its current demonstration-stage technologies and costs, is not cost competitive in commercial hydrogen, utility-scale energy storage, or hydrogenvehicle markets.

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