Under pressures to reach net zero emissions by 2050, there is an ongoing transition of energy decarbonization, decentralization and digitalization. Physical and information flows in energy systems are increasingly complex and distributed, leaving centralized structures inefficient. Blockchain technology is suggested as part of the next step in this transition. Blockchain has potential to facilitate distributed, peer-to-peer trading with reduced transaction costs, increased security via cryptography, and prosumer choice. However, there are as of yet multiple challenges to the expansion of blockchain in the energy sector. This paper argues that analysis of these challenges requires a multi-angled approach incorporating technological, economic, social, environmental, and institutional dimensions. First, each dimension is explored, substantiated based on a blockchain-based energy system case in Japan. Concrete challenges of scaling this case toward 2050 and potential opportunities in overcoming these challenges are discussed, leveraging extensive literature review. Finally, an overview of strategic indications is suggested. The findings of this paper present initial indications on challenges and opportunities to overcome them based on a multi-dimensional overview. It is suggested that the factors identified across the dimensions are interrelated. This would in turn call for coherent innovation management and multi-stakeholder innovation ecosystems. At large, it is suggested that a holistic and pragmatic approach can benefit the application and scalability of blockchain in the energy transition.
Mini-grids are being promoted in developing countries to increase electricity access in remote areas (SDG 7), and to meet demand for productive use of energy in these areas (SDG 8). This paper shows that in addition, renewable energy-based mini-grids can substantially reduce carbon emissions by decreasing the dependence on fossil fuelintense national grids (SDG 13). If they were to be deployed at their potential scale, the CO2 equivalent savings potential is estimated to be up to 390 million metric tons per year until 2050 in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, ceteris paribus. Yet to date, few examples of financially sustainable mini-grids in developing countries exist. This paper argues that in order for mini-grids to reach their full potential, four main things need to happen: (1) business models need to focus on provision of physical electricity-based services in addition to merely selling electricity to improve the financial performance of mini-grids; (2) the regulations governing mini-grids in developing countries need to be enable rapid project development; (3) the market environment needs to be improved for both local and international companies; and (4) governments and international development agencies need to cooperate closely and include mini-grids as a core element of their electrification (and finance allocation) strategies.
This paper utilizes numerical modelling techniques to estimate the MetOcean conditions in regions with potential for tidal energy development. Understanding and incorporating these MetOcean site characteristics into the initial stages of a feasibility study, will increase the accuracy of economic viability predictions. This more comprehensive approach will assist in building investor confidence, as the previously overlooked or unknown lifetime costs can be estimated and included in the choice of ultimate deployment position. Another advantage of this approach is that it uses freely available data, allowing site assessments to determine project feasibility, without high upfront investment. Freely available astronomic, bathymetric and meteorological data was therefore input into a Delft3D-FM simulation of the Bay of Fundy. Models were calibrated with tide gauge, flowmeter and wave buoy data to output spatially and temporally varying estimates of tidal height, flow velocity and significant wave height. Results demonstrate that areas of highest resource are the most profitable, but sheltered areas with lower flow speeds are also highly economically viable. For an emerging technology sector with relatively limited operational experience, it is recommended that these areas of less risky investment opportunity should be targeted by tidal energy developers.
In this paper, we evaluate the current status and future outlook (i.e. for 2022, 2030, 2050) for renewable electricity sources (RES) in Italy, considering the present challenges and solutions for relevant dimensions such as technology advancement and environmental impacts. We provide quantitative projections for future RES penetration levels in Italy, based on a cost-based analysis of future generation expansion. The economic expansion analysis indicates that by 2050, more than 80% of the electricity will be provided by RES even in the absence of a CO2 price. This share can even go above 90% with CO2 emission reduction measures such as a CO2 price. These high penetrations of RES will lead to a substantial reduction of the CO2 emissions from the electricity sector in Italy.
In this paper, a hybrid optimization algorithm combined Multi-Objective Dragonfly Algorithm (MODA) with time-varying management is presented to search optimal power flow of distributed power network. A numerical model is built to simulate and investigate the impact of intermittent energy and the change of load demand. Then, the distributed battery generators are integrated into the distribution network to compensate the above negative impact. The objectives consist of minimizing power losses, improving the voltage stability by searching the optimal placement of distributed battery systems. The algorithm is proven to be effective and it also has the potential to be used in the planning of any Smart Grid (SG) system.
The characteristics of fossil fuels (low-cost storage, economic variable output enabled by low-capitalcost high-operating-cost power systems, etc.) have resulted in an energy system where fossil fuels separately supply energy to the electricity, industrial (heat) and transport (liquid fuels) sectors. World systems are undergoing a profound change driven by (1) large-scale addition of wind and solar and (2) the goal of a low-carbon electricity grid. Nuclear, wind and solar have high capital costs and low operating costs where the cost of energy increases rapidly if operate at part load. We examined integrating the electricity and industrial sectors by (1) nuclear co-generation with production of heat for industry and electricity and (2) addition of heat storage to increase reactor capacity factors. This system design substantially reduces total energy costs by three separate mechanisms. Modeling of electricity and industrial energy systems shows nuclear cogeneration reduces energy costs by changing the hourly energy demand curves to better match production from low-carbon energy sources resulting in higher power-plant utilization. Cogeneration enables optimizing the electricity and industrial sector by varying industrial production to minimize total costs with added electricity sales at times of high prices. Heat storage increases plant capacity factors and thus lowers total energy costs.
Certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program is often proposed as a potential method to improve building energy efficiencies. This is despite the general lack of data regarding the efficacy of LEED certification and inconsistent results from past studies that often focused on a few buildings from a single city. Using recently available building energy use data from a nationwide set of 10 cities, we studied the effects of LEED certification on building energy efficiency measured by site energy use intensity, source energy use intensity, and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we used natural language processing methods to study patterns in the acquisition of specific credits by LEED-certified buildings. We find that LEED-certified buildings are not more energy-efficient by any measure except in a single city. In addition, neither the total amount of credits nor the number of Energy and Environment credits achieved correlate with building energy efficiency measures. Finally, buildings with high Energy and Atmosphere credits corresponding to renewables are not more energy-efficient in many cases. These conclusions call into question the use of LEED certification as a policy metric for improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
In order to alleviate energy shortages and environmental pollution problems, new energy vehicles have become an important development direction of the automotive industry today, including electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, hydrogen-powered vehicles and so on. At present, China has the advantage of becoming the world’s largest electric vehicle market, accounting for about half of global sales. International automakers are also investing heavily in China. The energy consumption of Chinese cars is in the stage of upgrading from fossil fuels to clean energy. Energy conservation and emission reduction are also important issues for the Chinese government. In this research context, this study attempts to establish a CGE model based on the data of Guangdong social accounting matrix to simulate the change of energy prices under the policy promotion and the reduction of automobile fossil fuel consumption for the economic system. The impact of simulating the improvement of environmental pollution caused by structural changes in energy use provides a scientific basis for the government’s macro decision-making. This study is mainly aimed at the economic impact of consumer preferences change caused by government’s policies and publicity to promote the new energy vehicle development, we divided the energy use transformation into 2 ways: general and high level promotion. In each stage, we simulated the macroeconomic impacts and found significant changes caused by consumption structure change.
Dense oxygen permeable membrane supported water splitting is a potential technology for high purity hydrogen production. It utilizes thermochemical energy to split water to hydrogen with the membrane separating the products so that the water splitting extent is not constrained by its thermodynamic equilibrium. Meanwhile, when methane partial oxidation is integrated into the other side of the membrane, syngas is co-produced with stoichiometry H2/CO = 2. The carbon species will not mix with the H2/H2O mixture on the water side since the dense membrane is selective to oxygen permeation only. In this paper, the co-production of high purity hydrogen and syngas is studied in a monolith membrane reactor, and a computational model is developed to study the reactor performance and the associated material cost. Two types of membranes are investigated, i.e., La0.9Ca0.1FeO3-δ (LCF) and BaCoxFeyZrzO3-δ (BCFZ) membranes. Results show that the required BCFZ membrane surface area for the production of 100 kmol H2/h (from water splitting) is 5.3 times smaller than the required LCF area under base case conditions. Moreover, the cost study shows that the raw material cost depends on the price of the critical minerals such as cobalt, which are uncertain due to the demand and supply imbalance. Therefore, developing membrane materials with less critical minerals can benefit the implementation of the membrane reactor in an industry-scaled hydrogen production plant.
Hydrogen is recognized as an environmentally clean energy source for electricity generation, alternative fuel and other applications since it is zero emission. Coal is one important source for hydrogen production, which has special value for China because it’s rich in coal but limited in natural gas and oil. More important, coal can be utilized in low carbon way through integrating CO2 capture into hydrogenation production process. However, with the current technology, the energy efficiency of producing hydrogen from coal is around 60%, which limits the full chain efficiency of coal utilization. It is therefore extremely important to develop more efficient methods of H2 production from coal. In this paper, a new type of hydrogen production process with a three-step coal gasification is introduced. The Aspen Plus Software is selected to simulate the system. Then the Exergy-Utilization Diagram (EUD) analyses are applied to disclose the mechanism of key processes. The result reveals that the efficiency of hydrogen production can be upgraded to 67% due to removing air separation unit and CO2 separation process. Thereby the hydrogen production process introduced in this paper has a good thermodynamic performance and may provide a quite promising way for high efficient and clean coal utilization.