Reasons behind this project
With decarbonation a must, oil shall let electricity and hydrogen become the two future energy carriers. If not stemming from hydrocarbons, hydrogen is intended to be generated by electrolysis, thanks to RES generated power surpluses. Hydrogen and electricity can be alternatives in end-uses or in distributions systems.
The emergence of such an integrated H2/E system will involve, integrate and/or transform all other present energy carriers (e.g. methane) and/or networks (heat, cold, transportation…), at local, regional and global level, in order to be efficient and swiftly implemented. Hydrogen is however actually only the keystone in an already ongoing cross-sector coupling.
Challenges related to sector coupling and making the “multi-energy system” (MES) happen are many:
- The coupling may have to encompass a very wide range of sectors from power, hydrogen/methane, heat, cold, but also transportation, etc..
- Interactions may happen at all stages of the value chain (production, wholesale and retail, distribution, consumption), representing as many risks (ability to accommodate end-uses with a decarbonated system) and opportunities (reduced investment costs thanks to integrated planning, flexibility provided by sector integration to cope with the integration of variable RES).
- The sector characteristics are diverse, from one European-wide power system to many local heat or water networks.
- The study range spans from investment (optimisation) to operation.
- There are many novel components (industrial electrolysers, H2-reduced steel plants, etc.).
- Last but not least, the energy transition requires flexibility in the implementation, as sector issues and technologies will evolve and constantly new simulation tools will have to be plugged in.
As a result, state of the art in cross-sector simulation methods will soon exhaust: soft-linking (with time and convergence issues, challenging if more than 2 sectors) or hard-linking (with complexity, scalability and upgradability issues). Some “smart-linking” must then be invented.
MUESSLI (“Multi-Energy System Smart-Linking Integration”) is CRESYM’s workstream covering all works regarding multi-energy, cross-sectorial, R&D issues, with the following first actions:
- Architecture a new fully open-source platform to model, optimise and better plan the future multi-energy system and relying, as much as possible, on existing tools and models;
- Invent the smart-linking method, enabling scalable cross-sectoral simulations, demonstrating it with power/gas/hydrogen for operation simulators and investment scenario assessment (starting with a simplified network modelling).
- Expand smart-linking to cross-sectorial investment optimisation if appropriate, or at least investigate and highlight key-issues in cross-sectorial investments.
- Expand smart-linking to other sectors, starting with heat.
- Expand smart-linking to allow for networks detailed modelling and constraints consideration.
+ beyond research works:
- Develop the flexible and modular opensource platform, populate it with existing opensource tools and
- Foster a living opensource project and community of users and developers to populate it and enrich it, taking advantage, when time comes, of new mathematical tools, increased computing ability, etc.
The project is being set up, powered by TU Delft, DTU, RTE and Comillas.
Credits: pictures are from Jason Blackeye, Tommy Krombacher, Shaun Dakin sur Unsplash