Microgrids May Be the Key to Green Hydrogen Production Success

Dec. 14, 2023
In this Quick Chat video, Andy Miller from PXiSE Energy Solutions explains why microgrids make a lot of sense when it comes to green hydrogen production.

Green hydrogen is an exciting new market for microgrids, according to Andy Miller, head of commercial development at PXiSE Energy Solutions. He recently sat down with Rod Walton, managing editor of Microgrid Knowledge, and explained why.

“For hydrogen to be considered green, it needs to be supplied by some renewable resource, which principally is going to be solar or wind resources which are inherently variable,” he explained. The challenge, Miller said, is that the electrolyzer used to produce that green hydrogen doesn't deal very well with intermittency.

You need a way to manage the intermittent nature of renewables, and a microgrid’s intelligent controls and energy storage system can do just that.

“The role that a microgrid can play, when paired with energy storage, is to take variable renewables and turn that into firm power to feed the electrolyzer,” Miller said.

The result is a system that can maximize the amount of green hydrogen production.

To connect to the grid or not

When asked whether the microgrid needs to be grid connected in order to optimize green hydrogen production, Miller said a case could be made either way – it all depends on the economics.

“Depending on where the large industrial process is located, it may be more economical to supply the load with generation sources locally versus building an interconnection to that system,” he explained.

But in other instances, it makes more sense to connect. Miller cited a grid-connected microgrid that PXiSE is currently working on in western Australia that will support a 10-MW electrolyzer at the Yuri Green Hydrogen Project. The industrial scale renewable hydrogen production facility also has an 8-MWh energy storage system and 18 MW of solar.

Currently in phase zero of a planned four-phase project, he said the plan is to grow the plant to around 500 MW of electrolysis by 2030.

Learn more about the Yuri Green Hydrogen Project during a free webinar featuring PXiSE’s Andy Miller, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 at 2 p.m. EST. Register today!

Microgrids can help utilities manage EV charging

Walton and Miller also discussed the use case for microgrids when it comes to electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

EVs represent both a challenge and an opportunity for utilities, according to Miller. He added that microgrids will play a fundamental role in integrating and optimizing local assets in a way that will help with peak management. 

“We really do think microgrids serve as an economic and viable non-wires alternative to help the utilities safely, efficiently, reliably integrate [EVs] into their system,” he said.

Miller pointed to PXiSE’s recent collaboration with Rove, which he described as a company that’s building the EV charging station of the future.

PXiSE and Rove will detail their EV Charging project at Microgrid 2024

Happening April 22-24 in Baltimore at the Marriott Waterfront

Join us to Experience the Revolution in Energy Together

“When you have a number of these fast chargers connected to a system, that can cause a lot of havoc on the distribution network. We're working with energy storage, high speed inverters and those EV chargers to be able to manage that impact on the grid so that, ultimately, we can get more of these charging stations interconnected across California and other areas where there's high adoption of EVs,” Miller said.

About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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