Session Title: Sustainable Innovation in the Energy Sector (1)
Time: 4:15 – 4:45pm
Session Type: tba
Mijndert Van der Spek
Decarbonisation of our society includes the need of lowering the carbon intensity of mobility of ourselves as well as transportation of goods we consume. Hydrogen (H2) is part of the energy carrier which might support reaching this goal. But which feedstock should we use for H2 production, where is it available, where should we locate H2 production facilities and at which size, how and where do we store CO2 if Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) needs to be involved? Is it possible to achieve carbon removal from the atmosphere (net negative greenhouse gas emissions) when producing H2? And to which transportation means should we allocate the constraint resource of sustainable H2?
Within the H2020 project “Elegancy” closing in August 2020, we investigate all these questions with a broad portfolio of methods (e.g. Antonini et al (submitted)) and a focus on road transportation. Firstly, technical modellings of H2 production from natural gas or biomethane reforming and woody gasification with and without CCS are performed, including laboratory experiments for developing a novel carbon capture process. These data are directly linked to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which is set up in a way to ensure a correct carbon balance especially when biogenic C is involved. The LCA results themselves are used in a multi-objective optimisation tool which finds cost- and LCIA optimized solutions for feedstock, H2 and CO2 chains within Europe. We then compare a portfolio of road passenger and freight transportation means driven by all types of energy carriers in order to identify environmental trade-offs and best solutions for reaching the goal of broad decarbonisation of road transportation.
C. Antonini, K. Treyer, A. Streb, M. W. Van Der Spek, C. Bauer, and M. Mazzotti, “Hydrogen production from natural gas and biomethane with carbon capture and storage – a techno-environmental analysis,” submitted to Sustain. Energy Fuels.
Emerging innovative thinfilm-materials are important features of prospective renewable energy technologies and, thus, of the energy transition. They are currently only manufactured on the laboratory scale but have high potential to be implemented into marketable technologies for substituting conventional energy technologies. Therefore, the assessment of their prospective environmental potential is an important step to ensure that the future resulting technology has low carbon impacts and no unintended trade-offs. However, this assessment is not straightforward since there is lack of representive prospective data and uncertainties of the marketable technology alternative [1,2]. Therefore, the objective of this work is the development of an upscaling methodology of the energy demand of deposition methods as a building block of prospective LCA studies on the manufacturing of emerging thinfilm-materials and technologies.
Based on the economic learning concepts [3,4], we developed an upscaling methodology using scale effects to model prospective manufacturing demands of various deposition methods that are used to produce thinfilm-technologies. The upscaling methodology consists of three parts: 1) upscaling equations for scaling up from small-scale to large scale deposited substrates, 2) deposition operation model including empirical data of scale effects of each considered deposition method, 3) life cycle inventory model (LCI) for integrating the upscaling and deposition model into the LCA modeling. As a result of this approach, we received LCI data sets of different deposition methods which can be used to model lab as well as fab manufacturing of thinfilm-technologies.
The presented upscaling approach can be applied to receive more realistic results of prospective LCA for commercial production of prospective thinfilm-technologies such as perovskite solar cells or organic light-emitting diode (OLED) materials even though big changes of technology innovations can not be considered with learning concepts. Furthermore, the developed upscaling methodology can be easily transferred to other emerging technologies and support the performance of prospective LCA at a very early stage of technology development.
 Cucurachi S, van der Giesen C, Guinée J. Ex-ante LCA of Emerging Technologies: Procedia CIRP 2018;69:463–8.
Arvidsson R, Tillman A-M, Sandén BA, Janssen M, Nordelöf A, Kushnir D, Molander S. Environmental Assessment of Emerging Technologies: Recommendations for Prospective LCA: Journal of Industrial Ecology 2017;80(7):40.
 Moore FT. Economies of Scale: Some Statistical Evidence: The Quarterly Journal of Economies 1959;73(2):232–45.
 Wright TP. Factors Affecting the Cost of Airplanes: Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences 1936;3(4):122–8.
Battery energy storage systems (BESS) are advocated as crucial elements for ensuring grid stability in times of increasing infeed of intermittent renewable energy sources (RES) and therefore paving the way for more sustainable energy systems. Under the current regulative framework for frequency containment reserve, BESSs are required to reserve portions of their capacity available, which limits their use for further applications. Hence, resources deployed in the BESS are not fully utilised from a macroeconomic and environmental perspective. Hybridisation of BESS facilities with consumer units, such as power-to-heat modules or electrolysers, enables unlimited energy infeed and is discussed as potential means to overcome this constraint. Simultaneously, they make use of excess RES in other carbon-intensive sectors. Whilst, a couple of studies have investigated the economic advantages of hybrid BESS, environmental consequences of hybrid systems were hardly analysed, so far. Sector integration could form an integral part of the sustainable energy transition. In this regard, including environmental aspects in such analyses are expected to turn the page favouring hybrid solutions. This study analyses the environmental and macroeconomic impacts of a hybrid pilot-plant consisting of an 18 MW Li-Ion battery and a power-to-heat unit based on the life cycle thinking approach. It is shown that different scenarios (e.g. use of curtailed RES in the heat sector) can affect the environmental and macroeconomic performance of such hybrid systems and the heat sector. Finally, recommendations are given for the further development of sector integrating solutions.
As energy systems transform more and more to renewable energies, storage solutions become increasingly important. Batteries are discussed as one possible option to solve some of the occurring problems like matching renewables generation and demand or smoothing renewables energy production. But battery production requires resources as well as energy and during usage batteries suffers from energy losses. Therefore, in recent years a great number of publications regarding LCA of batteries have investigated the potential contribution of storage to GHG mitigation in different application fields.
In this presentation a generic evaluation of the environmental impacts of stationary battery application is outlined for each life cycle stage. Thus, a brief literature analysis has been performed by analysing over 90 publications on environmental effects of batteries. The analysis shows a quite big variation of results. However, almost half of these publications focus on batteries for E -mobility whereas only a few publications consider stationary applications. Other publication analyse the reuse of batteries or batteries for small portable solutions. For the material extraction, production and recycling phases the variation is mainly caused by different system boundaries and assumption. A summarized overview of production phase results is outlined in the presentation and recommendation on how to use them in a stationary context are given.
An even wider variation of the results can be found in the evaluation of the use phase as it is handled quite differently and storage systems can fulfil different functions when integrated into a grid (e.g. storing and smoothing renewable generation or provide grid services). Therefore, the influence of different assumption for the use phase and their effects is shown and some general finding regarding the integration of storage systems are outlined. On the example of home storage systems the variation of results from very high to low to even positive when storage technologies are used to integrate renewable energy which otherwise may have been destroyed is shown.