Green hydrogen can help to decarbonize transportation, but its power sector interactions are not well understood. It may contribute to integrating variable renewable energy sources if production is sufficiently flexible in time. Using an open-source co-optimization model of the power sector and four options for supplying hydrogen at German filling stations, we find a trade-off between energy efficiency and temporal flexibility: for lower shares of renewables and hydrogen, more energy-efficient and less flexible small-scale on-site electrolysis is optimal. For higher shares of renewables and/or hydrogen, more flexible but less energy-efficient large-scale hydrogen supply chains gain importance as they allow disentangling hydrogen production from demand via storage. Liquid hydrogen emerges as particularly beneficial, followed by liquid organic hydrogen carriers and gaseous hydrogen. Large-scale hydrogen supply chains can deliver substantial power sector benefits, mainly through reduced renewable surplus generation. Energy modelers and system planners should consider the distinct flexibility characteristics of hydrogen supply chains in more detail when assessing the role of green hydrogen in future energy transition scenarios.
Keywords: hydrogen supply chains, LOHC, power sector modeling, renewable integration
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