(459b) Superstructure Modeling and Optimization of Hydrogen Supply Chain Considering Existing and Promising Technologies | AIChE

(459b) Superstructure Modeling and Optimization of Hydrogen Supply Chain Considering Existing and Promising Technologies


Lee, J. H., University of Southern California
The intermittency and seasonal variabilities of renewable resources hamper their incorporation into society’s energy mix. As a solution, hydrogen is being investigated for storing and transporting energy from renewables, given that it has a high energy density, approximately three times that of diesel fuel [1]. Specifically, green hydrogen is produced through the electrolysis of renewable energy, which in turn stores the surplus energy for later use or transportation. In addition to electrolysis, hydrogen can be produced from various energy resources including nuclear, natural gas, biogas, coal, and industrial off-gas, thereby being able to play a significant role as an energy carrier [2]. Hydrogen can also be transported through various methods (e.g., pipelines, ships, and trucks) and in different forms (e.g., compressed gas, ammonia, methanol, or liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC)) [3, 4]. Although various technologies are available for hydrogen production and distribution, designing a cost-effective and environmental-friendly hydrogen supply chain (HSC) with all available options remains challenging.

The numerous potential modes of hydrogen production and distribution make it complex and difficult to design an optimal hydrogen supply chain. Moreover, many technologies are still in early stages of development, leading to technical and economic uncertainties. Furthermore, renewable energy cost and availability, as well as distribution options, vary significantly from region to region and also with time [5]. Accordingly, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ design for HSC, and the best design should be tailored to a specific project’s geographic location and time horizon. Previous research efforts have focused on designing HSCs for hydrogen as the sole energy vector for meeting consumer demands rather than considering systems with diverse energy sources, different forms of hydrogen carriers, and various transportation modes [6-10]. It is noted that earlier studies on HSC modeling are limited in their ability to consider transitions from existing infrastructure, as it does not take into account both commercially mature and promising technologies.

Motivated by these limitations, in this work, a superstructure-based modeling of hydrogen production and distribution system is proposed to encompass all the promising technologies of HSC in addition to conventional technologies. Modeling of early-stage technologies of HSC (e.g., H2 to LOHC conversion process) is performed for which commercial data are unavailable. Furthermore, the sources, demand, and production sites are designated for case studies of a targeted geographical area (i.e., the Middle East and Asia), and a specific HSC superstructure network is constructed for it. Then, a set of scenarios are created by specifying utility supply and the prospect of market demand. Lastly, the cost-efficient and environmental-friendly hydrogen supply pathways within the constructed superstructure network are identified using Mixed Integer Linear Programming. Notably, this proposed work develops the framework and methodology for identifying the most sustainable (e.g., most profitable, least CO2 emitting) technologies and configuration of the HSC through superstructure modeling, numerical evaluation, and optimization.


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