SYSTEM INTEGRATION; BRINGING RENEWABLE ENERGY TO THE INDUSTRY
The historic Paris Climate Agreement provided a global mandate to mitigate climate change and limit temperature increase to 2 degrees and preferably even lower. To achieve this, CO2 emissions should be reduced in 2050 by 95% compared to 1990. This requires a rapid shift away from fossil fuel consumption in our economic system and challenges companies, governments, institutions and citizens to rethink the way we produce, transport, build, and consume.
In future society, RENEWABLE ENERGY will play a much larger role and we will need to achieve a robust energy system to support all stakeholders: industry, transportation and mobility and the built environment will all need to transform their way of working to use green energy. The industry is a major energy user that will play a key role in the development of the new energy system. It will need to restructure major parts of its key energy-intensive processes to meet emission reduction targets effectively while maintaining its active position in globally competing supply chains.
DEVELOP AND RESHAPE FUTURE ENERGY SYSTEMS: THE NETHERLANDS AS GUIDING EXAMPLE
The Netherlands has an exceptionally large industrial sector compared to other countries. This sector is therefore responsible for around 40% of the total national energy consumption and corresponding CO2 emissions. The number 1 measure for CO2 emission reduction is to implement essential and necessary but typically incremental efficiency measures. To reach the 2050 targets of up to 95% emission reduction a complete re-imagining and re-inventing of our production value chains is required.
Innovative solutions need to be developed, scaled up and integrated in the energy system, while at the same time entirely new circular value chains need to be created. Connections that never existed need to be made, as one’s waste will become another one’s resource and collaboration across borders will be needed. With the desire to reach the Paris Agreement targets with the industry in The Netherlands, the urgency to innovate is very high. Known for its progressive way of creating partnerships and doing business and with a knowledge-infrastructure that is very well connected to the industry, The Netherlands is perfectly positioned, we are a leading example to the rest of the world on how to develop and reshape future energy systems.
For transformation of the industry to be powered by green energy we need:
- Innovative solutions need to be developed and realized.
- These technologies and solutions need to be scaled up.
- The industrial chain needs to be rethought as these solutions will be integrated
INTEGRATING FUTURE ENERGY SYSTEMS
The energy transition is a very complicated puzzle that we will need to solve in the coming decades. To understand this, you need to understand that industrial energy is used in three different modalities: as power, for heating and as feedstock (molecules). In these modalities, industrial energy drives conversion processes, separation processes, forming and shaping and drying processes and many other energy-consuming operations.
These energy modalities are also interchangeable as is shown in the figure, electrons can be changed into heat or into molecules (or be used simply as electrons), and molecules can be changed into heat. Furthermore, industrial operations have their own dynamics, using all of these different energy sources also at variable moments in time.
The 3 different and interchangeable modalities of energy as used in industry.
By making connections between different uses of these different modalities, across sectors and time, a whole new energy system arises. Need for technology for conversion, transport, and storage of these different energy source as effectively and efficiently as possible, keeping an eye on the functionality of the entire system from energy production all the way into the industrial production processes.
THE SI PROGRAM
The main goal of the System Integration program is the advancement of key technical options for the energy-intensive process industry, like the electrolyser plant for H2, that enable industrial processing with zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The program is staged at three levels:
- Strategic Opportunity Scouting –The first aim is to identify the challenges and opportunities for industries in the future energy supply chains.
- Technology Development – The second aim of the System Integration program is to carry out technology development for specific strategically selected technologies to advance the TRL level of vital technologies.
- Demonstration – The third aim is to achieve industrial demonstration of key technologies for the process industry at commercially relevant scales, demonstrating the technological performance in real industrial settings with longer running trials.
IN THE PIPELINE
Hydrogen projects are taking off
Exciting times are ahead as projects developed within the SI cluster are taking off. The ISPT is initiating three ground-breaking projects that will help the industry become more sustainable. All of these projects will be a part of the hydrogen program within the SI cluster, creating ‘green hydrogen’ (hydrogen from wind/solar made through water electrolysis) and focusing on making this an affordable effort. Clean hydrogen will be an essential component in realizing a sustainable chemical industry, because it will eliminate the need for unsustainable options. The first step in making this a reality will be by finding ways to increase our ‘electrolyzer capacity’.
The three ground-breaking projects are:
- The MegaWatt electrolyser testcentre, the GigaWatt electrolyser and the HyChain project will kick off. In the MegaWatt electrolyse centre all technological challenges will be researched in order to increase the hydrogen-electrolysis capacity while at the same time lowering the cost price of this technology.
- In the GigaWatt electrolyser it will be researched what a plant on GigaWatt scale would look like and what would be needed. To achieve this, large case studies will be developed in several Dutch industrial regions.
- The HyChain project in turn will then research how all of this energy can be balanced in energy offered and energy needed in and outside of the Netherlands. These chains need much more further developing before they can be implemented in the future.
The System Integration Team
CarbOn-monoxide RE-use through industrial SYMbiosis (November 2017)
Power to Ammonia: From renewable energy to CO2-free ammonia as chemical feedstock and fuel. (Press release, March 2016)
Storing Renewable Energy as Ammonia (January 2016)