Hydrogen Cycle Peak Power at Low-Head Sites

by Curtis J. Orvis, US Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO, USA,
Howard G. Noble, US Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water for Resource Development


A major draw back to further development of low-head hydro power is that it usually uses run-of-the-river operations. The storage potential for peaking power production that large reservoirs and high head dams offer is not available at low-head sites. The low-head facilities are basically baseload facilities. In order to incorporate low-head plants into the grid system, electric utility companies must develop additional and often more costly peak power plants. The low-head plants are a further nuisance to power companies due to difficulties in defining pay back schedules and procedures for the run-of-river sequence. The economics and feasibility of developing low-head hydropower sites would be greatly enhanced if all the electrical power could be generated during peak demand hours. An alternative method for providing low-head hydropower sites with the versatility to be used strictly for peaking power is based on the use of hydrogen storage during off peak hours and both water turbine and hydrogen power generation during peak demand hours.

Subject Headings: Water storage | Electrical systems | Hydro power | Head (fluid mechanics) | Reservoirs | Weirs | Power plants | Hydrogen

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