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Activities Task 29

Distributed and Community Hydrogen (DISCO-H2)

Operating Agent:  Hiroshi Ito

Term:  November 4 2010 - December 31 2014

Purpose and Objectives: 

To further the optimisation and replication of green hydrogen within distributed and community energy systems.

This will be accomplished by identifying situations where the use of hydrogen is appropriate and assessing the technical, environmental, economic and social benefits of such systems. Analysis will include:

  • Cost benefit analysis;
  • Business case and market research;
  • Identification of technical benefits and gaps;
  • Materials for education and awareness raising;
  • Material for planners and regulatory authorities to help them facilitate incorporating hydrogen systems within energy networks.

This analysis will contribute to the foundation for commercialisation efforts. It will also favour economic development through new job creation.


This task is proposed as follow-on to Task 18: Evaluation of Integrated Systems. The successor task proposes to study hydrogen systems integrated with electricity and other energy and mobility networks. The Task should have considerable industrial input; it is expected to move hydrogen systems toward commercialisation.


The Task will focus on H2 applications in energy Communities and distributed systems, largely involving stationary applications, but also examining potential benefits for transportation. An energy community is characterized as a group of interacting people living in a common location featuring shared geographical location and energy needs.

Communities to be considered should be up to 1000 people. The total installed power capacity of the hydrogen energy technologies (both producing and consuming hydrogen) in the communities should not exceed 500 kW.

The scope of distributed and community hydrogen encompasses:

  • Island, rural and urban communities
  • Off-grid or communities connected and interacting with smart grids
  • Industrial distributed H2 applications

The hydrogen used should be produced at a local level (i.e. distributed) rather than at a centralised industrial scale.

In the long term, whole cities may integrate hydrogen into their energy networks. However, this project will concentrate on developments on a subdivision level or smaller as it is envisaged that this is how distributed and community hydrogen systems will be built up.

Subtask 1 - Management 

Subtask 2 - Analysis and Selection
  • Community identification
  • Data Collection (in relation to economic, social-regulatory, environmental and technical areas)
  • Projects selection
Subtask 3 - (DISCO-H2) Model concept development 
  • Selection of rural/island model
  • Selection of urban model
  • Selection of industrial/commercial model
Subtask 4 - (DISCO-H2) Concept replicability
  • Market analysis
  • Risk analysis
Subtask 5 - Dissemination
  • Task results dissemination
  • Scientific community
  • Industrial sector
  • Regulating Authorities

A full range of energy applications for which hydrogen may be used shall be considered, for example: heat, power, transport and cooking. This will allow studies of how hydrogen can be used as a vector to bridge different energy networks and manage peaks of load consumption and generation. Thus, electrolysers, reformers, fuel cells, ICEs, hydrogen burners and renewable energy generation systems are all likely to be components. The Task will take a holistic view of how these components can be integrated in and complement existing energy networks.

Preferentially the investigated sources of hydrogen will be renewable but other sources like reformation of Natural Gas or wastes will be taken into consideration.

Following a review of various projects, six projects (2 island/remote; 2 urban; and 2 industrial) will be selected for detailed analysis consisting of:

Out of these six projects three generic models of the distributed and Community H2 concept will be developed so as to represent the three above mentioned categories. These concepts will be designed to be scaled-up in light of concept replication and market penetration.

Progress and Products:

It is anticipated that the Subtask 4 Report will be published in mid-late 2016 and the final report will be published by year-end 2016. 

Task 29 Final Report 2017

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