Fuel Cells for Grid Support

Hawaiian electric utility companies are desiring to increase the utilization of renewable resources in the mix of power supplies being used for electricity generation. Since some renewable resources (e.g., solar and wind energy) are intermittent, they can cause problems in maintaining the grid for supplying electricity to customers. Several options for support of the grid in such situations have been suggested. One option includes the use of fuel cells.

The basic concept of using fuel cells for grid support involves the generation of hydrogen with excess renewable energy (energy being generated at a time when it is not needed on the grid) and the subsequent application of the resultant stored hydrogen to fuel cells for generating electricity when the grid needs it. This option is described in the Grid Management Using Hydrogen section of our website. The HNEI Hawai'i Hydrogen Power Park also includes grid support as one of its possible elements. For further information on the various hydrogen projects at HNEI, contact Mitch Ewan, HNEI Hydrogen Systems Program Manager.

Another option for support of the grid under the condition of increased renewable energy utilization is the use of batteries for energy storage. For details concerning this option, see the Batteries for Grid Management section of our website.

Addition information regarding the general subject of grid support options can be found in the Grid Storage Systems section of our website.


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