Assessment of a novel photovoltaic-electrolyzer-fuel cell-ORC hybrid energy system for hydrogen and power production

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Fuel Cell Technology Research Laboratory

2 Fuel Cell Technology Research Laboratory, Malek-Ashtar University of Technology, Fridonkenar, Islamic Republic of Iran

3 Northern Research Center for Science & Technology, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Iran

4 makek ashtar university


This study aimed to explore new insights within the realm of hybrid renewable energy systems specifically designed for off-grid applications, using a combination of numerical simulations and real-world experiments. The system described in the study was developed to cater to the electricity needs of a telecommunications tower. It was achieved by integrating various components, including a photovoltaic (PV) unit, a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer (PEME), a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), and a battery storage unit. Additionally, an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system is integrated to efficiently capture and utilize waste heat generated by the PEMFC. In this setup, the PV unit serves as the primary source of power, with any excess solar energy being directed towards the PEME during periods of high solar irradiation. The PEME then converts this surplus energy into hydrogen and oxygen. Subsequently, the PEMFC utilizes the stored hydrogen, which is stored in metal hydride tanks, to generate electricity, thus ensuring a continuous and reliable power supply for the telecom tower. Results indicate that an optimal ORC turbine inlet pressure of approximately 600 kPa maximizes overall exergy and energy efficiencies, with 53.2% and 50.9% respectively.


Main Subjects