Research Papers

Photovoltaic Production of Hydrogen at Stratospheric Altitude

[+] Author and Article Information
Antonio Dumas

e-mail: antonio.dumas@unimore.it

Michele Trancossi

e-mail: michele.trancossi@unimore.it

Stefano Anzillotti

Research Associate
e-mail: s.anzillotti@rensolution.com

Mauro Madonia

e-mail: mauro.madonia@unimore.it
42122, Italy

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 16, 2011; final manuscript received March 24, 2012; published online October 23, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Santiago Silvestre.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(1), 011018 (Oct 23, 2012) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-11-1174; doi: 10.1115/1.4007357 History: Received August 16, 2011; Revised March 24, 2012

This paper compares hydrogen production by photovoltaic powered electrolysis of water at sea level and at low stratospheric altitudes up to 21 km. All the hydrogen production processes have been considered from catchable solar radiation to storage technologies. The evaluation has been performed for 1 m2 of flat horizontal plane. It has been considered the electric energy amount produced by considering the equilibrium temperature of photovoltaic (PV) modules and its evolution due to external temperature and solar radiation. Hydrogen production through electrolysis has been evaluated too. Two different methods of hydrogen storage have been evaluated: high pressure compression up to 20 MPa and the liquefaction process. The energetic cost of both production processes has been evaluated. The comparison is presented in terms of effective energy deliverable to final users considered in terms of HHV. This evaluation considers also, in the case of the liquefaction process the energy which can be recovered by the regasification process.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
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Fig. 2

Daily irradiance for 1 m2 of flat horizontal PV plant at ground level for different latitudes in standard atmosphere conditions (calculated by MIDC SOLPOS)

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Fig. 3

Irradiation in standard atmosphere conditions as a function of specific altitude on annual basis (Torino Italy 45 deg N)

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Fig. 4

Monthly productivity (kWh/m2)

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Fig. 5

Annual solar radiation calculated for different location using the MIDC SOLPOS code

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Fig. 6

Diagram of the energy exchanges of a photovoltaic panel

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Fig. 7

An example of equilibrium temperature calculated for different altitudes over northern Italy (calculated by monthly average thermal values with adiabatic back module)

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Fig. 8

PV productivity for a 1 kW of electric power installed as a function of latitude at different altitudes

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Fig. 9

Electrical productivity as a function of height for different points (kWh/m2 installed)

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Fig. 10

Apparent efficiency

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Fig. 11

Voltage–current characteristics of hydrogen electrolyzer and fuel cell [13]

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Fig. 12

Annual hydrogen productivity (kg/m2)

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Fig. 13

Energy required for the compression of hydrogen compared to its higher heating value [13]

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Fig. 14

Compressed hydrogen (20 MPa) productivity (m3/m2) for different latitudes as a function of altitude

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Fig. 15

Energy for ortho/para conversion as a function of temperature [21]

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Fig. 16

Productivity of liquefied hydrogen (kg/m2)




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