Wind/hydrogen hybrid systems: opportunity for Ireland's wind resource to provide consistent sustainable energy supply

J. G. Carton, A. G. Olabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


Ireland with its resource of wind has the potential to use this natural resource and sustain the country's power needs for the future. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to renewable energy generation, particularly wind-generated electricity is that it is an intermittent and a variable source of power. Even at the "best" sites wind varies dramatically from hour to hour and minute to minute. This leads to two main problems:

1) When the wind drops below a lower limit or goes above a higher limit the turbine can shut down and electricity is not produced.

2) Energy is not stored when there is an excess of electricity generated on site.

Because of these problems wind power has a very low capacity credit and backup power is needed to handle the large fluctuation of production.

This paper introduces the current energy system in Ireland and the targets that Irish operators are to achieve in the next decade. A review of energy storage options for Ireland is outlined including the use of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. It is concluded that a project similar to the Norwegian Utsira wind/hydrogen project could be piloted in Ireland and a site similar to Dundalk Institute of Technology could be used to demonstrate and test the system. Going forward to achieve high levels of renewable energy generation, similar distributed wind/hydrogen hybrid systems could reduce the need for curtailment of wind farms, save wasted energy, reduce backup power, reduce transmission losses, generate large revenue by selling power at peak times, ensure security of supply and reduce the need for costly interconnects to Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4536-4544
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • PEM fuel cell
  • Renewable energy storage
  • Hydrogen
  • Wind energy
  • Ireland


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