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SUStainability assessment of ADvanced Energy Systems: towards new methodological approaches

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SUSADES (SUStainability assessment of ADvanced Energy Systems: towards new methodological approaches)

Reporting period: 2018-09-10 to 2019-12-09

Answering to the need for more sustainable, more flexible and secure power generation systems, the main goal of this project was to develop and apply a methodological framework for the feasibility assessment of novel and existing electricity generation technologies in future energy systems. Thus, the project aimed to bring new knowledge on the systems for energy generation and their potential for the use in future energy systems (e.g. in 2050 perspective) by complex analysis combining technical, economic and environmental aspects. In such it would contribute to the development and evaluation of novel technologies that can produce energy in sustainable way, without significant emissions to the environment.
To reach the project objectives a screening of the potential of various technologies that may be important for future energy generation and/or storage was made.. To assess the systems in the wide context, some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were defined, including thermodynamic, environmental, technical and resources indicators. Several technologies were initially analyzed with the use of these KPIs and simplified calculations to get the overview of the potential and to enable choosing technologies for further studies. For detailed analysis a few were chosen, including systems that are based on renewable energy to produce electricity, heat, or gaseous fuels. Detailed mathematical models of these systems were built in order to calculate most important evaluation indices and to optimize their operation. These models served also as input to economic analysis, evaluating the profitability of the solutions on the current market and showing the size of incentives that has to be introduced, if they are not yet profitable. Also, the environmental assessment of the chosen technologies was made with the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which is a tool that enables evaluation of the technologies from an environmental point of view (including their influence e.g. on human health, greenhouse effect, etc.) in a very wide context (e.g. from cradle to grave). Finally, a projection of the potential presence and its consequences of the proposed technologies in the future energy mix was made. The analysis was conducted for the case of Spain. The results of the project were presented in scientific conferences and papers for scientific journals were prepared. Moreover, posters were presented during European Researchers Night organized at IMDEA Energy Institute.
Based on the holistic analysis, the results give a wide view on the potential development of the considered technologies, showing also their potential and weaknesses. As shown by the results of the project, the analyzed technologies may serve for energy generation but also as energy storage in the energy systems, help shaving peaks and valleys of energy demand and can contribute to greenification of future energy generation systems, e.g. by substituting fossil based natural gas with biomethane produced based on renewable sources. Moreover, the analyzed technologies are mostly based on waste biomass (manure), thus, will help to utilize these potentially hazardous waste in an effective manner.