The world is facing a great challenge in transitioning to new, clean energy systems to contrast climate change, while the global energy demand is continuously rising. Hydrogen could play a central role in this transition: even if until now its uses have been mainly limited to certain industrial applications, its potential is much larger than its present employment. The aim of this project is to investigate the competitiveness of plasmolysis as a technology to produce green hydrogen, which is hydrogen obtained from renewable sources. Plasmolysis consists in applying high-voltage electrical discharges to water or vapour, ionising its constituents and finally obtaining hydrogen and oxygen separately.
The two methods used in this project to assess the potential of plasmolysis are a techno-economic analysis and a case study envisioning the use of plasmolysis in a mountain hut disconnected from the electrical grid.
The results of the techno-economic analysis present plasmolysis as a technology that has the potential to compete economically with other green hydrogen technologies in specific scenarios, even if the future projections for the other technologies envision a quick reduction in costs that will cause the need for plasmolysis to quickly improve to remain competitive. For the economic aspect of plasmolysis to be sustainable in a wider range of scenarios, a reduction of the capital cost of the hydrogen generator and low electricity costs appear necessary, along with a high energy efficiency.
The case study of a stand-alone mountain hut shows some economical convenience for plasmolysis in the long run and a significant environmental benefit in the form of a reduction of carbon emissions. The complete self-sufficiency of the hut through hydrogen appears hardly feasible considering a realistic configuration, thus the presence of an auxiliary generator would not be easy to remove altogether, but its use could be greatly reduced.
Principal Academic Tutor
Lidia Castoldi, Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano
Fabio Alessandro Deorsola, Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino
Katiuscia Costabello, IRIS s.r.l.
Alessandro Buzzi, Nanotechnologies for ICT, Politecnico di Torino
Marco Crosato, Energy and Nuclear Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Nicolò Gavazzo, Energy and Nuclear Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Matteo Monegaglia, Energy and Nuclear Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Andrea Vallieri, Mechanical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano