Reducing cycling costs in coal fired power plants through power to hydrogen
The increase of renewable share in the energy generation mix makes necessary to increase the flexibility of the electricity market. Thus, fossil fuel thermal power plants have to adapt their electricity production to compensate these fluctuations. Operation at partial load means a significant loss of efficiency and important reduction of incomes from electricity sales in the fossil power plant. Among the energy storage technologies proposed to overcome these problems, Power to Gas (PtG) allows for the massive storage of surplus electricity in form of hydrogen or synthetic natural gas. In this work, the integration of a Power to Gas system (50 MWe) with fossil fuel thermal power plants (500 MWe) is proposed to reduce the minimum complaint load and avoid shutdowns. This concept allows a continuous operation of power plants during periods with low demand, avoiding the penalty cost of shutdown. The operation of the hybrid system has been modelled to calculate efficiencies, hydrogen and electricity production as a function of the load of the fossil fuel power plant. Results show that the utilisation of PtG diminishes the specific cost of producing electricity between a 20% and 50%, depending on the framework considered (hot, warm and cold start-up). The main contribution is the reduction of the shutdown penalties rather than the incomes from the sale of the hydrogen. At the light of the obtained results, the hybrid system may be implemented to increase the cost-effectiveness of existing fossil fuel power plants while adapting the energy mix to high shares of variable renewable electricity sources.