In its subproject, the Chair of Energy Management and Sustainability at the Institute for Infrastructure and Resource Management (IIRM) at the University of Leipzig analyses the energy industry framework conditions, evaluates the economic viability of the "flexibilisation of hydrogen production" business model on the basis of these conditions, integrating the results of the other subprojects, and derives requirements for the future operational management of flexibly operated electrolysis plants.

Duration: 09.2018 - 12.2021

Funding source: BMBF Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

Participating organizational units of UL: Chair of Energy Management and Sustainability, Research and Development Department (Universitätsrechenzentrum (URZ))

H2FLEX: Zwanzig20 - HYPOS - Verbundvorhaben H2-Flex


With the growing share of renewable energies (photovoltaics, wind), our electricity supply is subject to ever greater fluctuations, which, moreover, do not run parallel in time to the fluctuations in electricity demand. At present, this problem is cushioned by flexible conventional power plants. But with the decommissioning of these power plants, their short-term flexibility will also cease, creating the need for other flexibility solutions. For this reason, research and development of corresponding infrastructures is essential, which can cope with the fluctuations of the residual load (load minus feed-in from renewable energies), especially in the area of short-term flexibility.

Project objective

Model-based economic evaluation of the business model "Flexibilisation of hydrogen production of a chlor-alkali electrolysis" on the basis of different technology and market scenarios.


The University of Leipzig will analyse the energy-economic framework conditions for the use of flexible hydrogen production in order to determine the economic advantages associated with making the operation of electrolysis plants more flexible on this basis.

The determination of consistent price scenarios with a high level of detail for the spot and balancing power markets until 2040 serves as the basis for the subsequent evaluation of hydrogen production as a sustainable business model. With the help of a comprehensive sensitivity analysis, it is possible to (1) analyse the relevant range of fluctuation of uncertain parameters (for example with regard to the fuel and CO2 prices to be expected in the future), (2) quantify the resulting implications for spot market and balancing power prices, and (3) on the basis of these, identify the economic advantages (or the associated risks) of flexible operation of electrolysis plants.

For this purpose, in a first step, price time series for the spot market and control energy prices to be expected in the future are to be determined, which serve as input data for the application of a techno-economic optimization and analysis model, which in a second step allows an economic evaluation of the business model "flexible operation of electrolysis plants". The techno-economic optimization and analysis model to be used for this purpose is the project-specific further development of an integrated business model analysis framework IRPsim (Scheller et al., 2017), which was created at the Chair of Energy Management and Sustainability of the IIRM at the University of Leipzig in recent years and has been successfully used in the past to evaluate business model innovations in the context of the energy transition. The focus of the planned extension is the creation of a sub-model for determining the profit-maximising operation of electrolysis plants, which reproduces their dynamic operating behaviour with sufficient accuracy for techno-economic analyses.

In the further course of the project, the results of the work at the University of Leipzig will be incorporated into the overall assessment of the value chain and the derivation of recommendations for action. The main results (deliverables) of the University of Leipzig's contribution to the project can be summarized as follows: 

  • Scenarios of the spot market and balancing energy prices to be expected in the future (in high temporal resolution).
  • Scenarios on the demand for flexibility
  • Computer model to determine the economically optimal use of flexible electrolysis plants
  • Use of this model to assess the economic viability of these plants in the context of the underlying spot market and balancing energy prices
  • Derivation of recommendations for action


With the results, the magnitudes of the economic benefits arising from the business model "Flexibilisation of hydrogen production of a chlor-alkali electrolysis" can be predicted more precisely. In addition, the developed model allows the continuous analysis of further cases in this context. Alongside this, the project is modelling or researching energy industry data such as future electricity prices on the day-ahead spot market, which are useful for answering a variety of other questions.

Impressions from the project work


 Philipp Lerch

Philipp Lerch

Research Fellow

Energiemanagement und Nachhaltigkeit
Grimmaische Straße 12, Room I 430
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97 - 33521

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