Evaluation of Renewable Intermittency on Electrolysers for Hydrogen Production Cost in Australia

June 20th, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Whole supply chain, Electrolysis, Technology integration process improvement

Lead Organisation:

RMIT University


Start date:
December 2022

Completion date:
June 2026

Key contacts:
Dr Nawshad Haque: Nawshad.Haque@csiro.au

CSIRO Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform

Project total cost:

Project summary description:
CSIRO has a Centre for Hybrid Energy System (CHES) under its Electrochemical Energy Systems Team. This project would generate and collect measured data utilising this facility and other technical resources at CSIRO and RMIT University. System integration is likely to reduce cost and reliability of hydrogen energy systems. This research study is required for understanding the need for storage and performance of the electrolyser.

An evaluation framework, methodology and tool will be developed to answer research questions such as:

  • How to quantify the amplitude and frequency of intermittency?
  • Does the temperature of the feed water affect the hydrogen output?
  • How an electrolyser’s voltage, hydrogen pressure, hydrogen purity, and production are related to intermittent power input.

Related publications and key links:

Higher degree studies supported:
One PhD student is supported by this project.

Project Objectives:


  • To determine the solar energy intermittency level for quantifying intermittency for a year-wise period, risk mitigation, and optimising electrolyser performance.
  • To calculate the levelised cost of hydrogen production and evaluate storage recommendations for improved efficiency.
  • To provide recommendations for future research.
  • To foster collaboration and knowledge sharing with resources from CSIRO and RMIT University

Major Deliverables:

  • Intermittency Analysis Report on solar energy and its impact on electrolyser.
  • Levelised Cost of Hydrogen Production Report based on actual data.
  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for this process.
  • Next stage research recommendations.
  • Development of evaluation framework, methodology, and tool.
  • Gathering and analysis of actual solar energy data.
  • Publication of research articles and a thesis.
  • Recommendations for future research and improvements.

Current Project Status:

  • Methodology for collecting the data to quantify the intermittency, to determine the impact of intermittency on electrolyser have been developed.
  • Analysis of the available data from the CHES facility has been done.
  • A research setup is ongoing at the RMIT Renewable Energy Laboratory to collect meteorological and renewable energy-related data.
  • A research setup is ongoing at the CSIRO CHES Laboratory to collect meteorological and renewable energy-related data.

Literature Review: Current State of the Art


  • Direct coupling of electrolysers with renewables is feasible.
  • PEM electrolysers are better suited for use with intermittent power sources, such as wind and solar power, due to their high efficiency and faster response rate than that of the Alkaline electrolyser.
  • Renewable energy and the 2050 carbon goal boosted hydrogen’s popularity as a fuel. Cheaper renewable energy made green hydrogen production using electrolysis more attractive. It is eco-friendly because it does not use fossil fuel-based electricity and reduces carbon emissions.
  • As per the available literature, renewable intermittency or power fluctuation can deteriorate the electrolyser if the power is not stabilised and supplied steadily.

Research Gap Identified


  • Long-term data on the direct coupling between intermittent power sources and the electrolyser is lacking. Instead of direct coupling, most studies use numerical analysis or simulations. Experimental studies rely on power emulators to simulate and replicate intermittent power patterns, rather than directly utilizing those sources.
  • A one-year analysis is crucial for optimizing renewable energy systems, enhancing electrolyser reliability, mitigating negative consequences, and informing sustainable and economically viable scaling and integration of renewables. In-depth analysis is necessary to gain insights and make informed decisions about renewable integration.
  • The research aims to integrate battery storage systems with PV-PEM electrolysers to identify and analyse how the inclusion of the battery impacts the PV-PEM-based hydrogen generation system.


Reviewed: November 2023