GIS-based site suitability analysis for solar and win to hydrogen potential in Europe and Mediterranean region in 2030 and 2040

More Info


Today’s climate change creates a serious issue, which forces us to act by reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions across every sector. Making changes towards a sustainable world takes time and creates competition. Hydrogen has the potential to fuel a ‘clean’ economy because it is a carbon free energy carrier that can be produced from fossil fuels as well as renewable resources. This makes hydrogen the energy carrier of the future and a candidate to introduce into the European energy system. This thesis presents a geospatial techno-economic analysis on the potential of large scale low-cost green hydrogen production in Europe and North-Africa. Low-cost implies a production price lower than 1.5 €/kg. Large-scale means a minimum production amount of 1 million tons per year.
Current energy market developments show enough reasons and possibilities for green hydrogen production. Europe’s energy system still consists mostly of fossil-based fuels and introducing green hydrogen could counterpart this state. But is there sufficient potential for low-cost large scale green hydrogen production? The research question is therefore: . What is the potential for low-cost large-scale green hydrogen production in Europe and the Mediterranean region in 2030 & 2040?
With GIS, a techno- and economical model the production price is visually depicted. System boundaries and design of a large-scale green hydrogen operation are needed for modelling. The geographical hydrogen potential visualizes the suitable areas. The technical hydrogen potential is determined by the yield of the solar and/or wind system. The economic hydrogen potential is determined by the Levelized costs of hydrogen.
There are enough areas in Europe and North-Africa for low-cost green hydrogen production in 2040. The solar PV system shows large potential against low-costs in North-Africa in 2040. The results show that for the solar scenario the LCOH ranges between 1.6 - 4.6 €/kg in 2030 and 0.9 - 2.7 €/kg in 2040. The wind turbine system can produce against low costs in North-Africa and North-Europe in 2030 and 2040. For wind the LCOH ranges between 1.5 – 5.3 €/kg in 2030 and 1 – 3.5 €/kg in 2040. The solar and wind combination shows the highest amount of potential against the lowest costs in 2040 and least amount of space used. The solar and wind combination shows the lowest price range in 2030 and 2040 of 1.5 – 3.7 €/kg and 0.7 – 1.8 €/kg. Including transport and storage costs for baseload hydrogen adds around 0.1 €/kg per 1000km for transport and 0.1 €/kg for salt cavern storage.
This research shows that large scale low-cost green hydrogen production has a substantial potential in South Europe and a very large potential in North-Africa. But North and Central European countries do not show sufficient large-scale low-cost hydrogen potential and will need to import from South Europe and North-Africa. The final potential and prices for the three different scenarios in North-, South Europe, and North Africa are depicted in the table below.
The countries considered as North-Europe are Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, and Slovak republic.
The countries considered as South-Europe are Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Macedonia.
The countries considered as North Africa are Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria
Even with the rough estimations in the models, the results of this GIS-based research give a good first estimate for the geospatial large-scale low-cost hydrogen production potential. Using a geospatial techno-economic analysis proves to be a suitable method to visualize the future hydrogen production price. The geographical hydrogen potential is accurately depicted by the GIS program, but it comes with its difficulties with datasets. The technical hydrogen potential is based on today’s knowledge of future technology, but the factors may vary in the future. With the used cost input data, the levelized cost of electricity and hydrogen are comparable with other studies. The area size criterion used in the GIS modelling needs to be analyzed in more detail to show the total production potential of an area.