50 MW power-to-gas
A desk-top feasibility study, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has been undertaken to examine the potential deployment of large-scale Power-to-Gas energy storage. The focus was on deployments capable of operating cost-effectively from 50MW energy storage capacity upwards within the boundaries of the Northern Gas Networks gas distribution network.
Four locations would be suitable for a large-scale first-of-a-kind power-to-gas demonstration supplying the stored energy to either majority domestic or industrial customers gas customers. Of the four locations InTEGReL was recommended as the most suitable site for deployment of a large-scale first-of-a-kind power-to-gas demonstration facility in the size range 50-100MW.
InTEGReL is capable of supporting large scale Power-to-Gas throughout the year from peak demands in winter, to the lower demand conditions experienced in the summer months. Hydrogen injected at InTEGReL would deliver stored energy in the form of low carbon gas to over 243,000 customers. Also, InTEGReL’s close proximity to the A1 and the urban centres of Newcastle and Gateshead would provide opportunity for local export of hydrogen necessary to develop a local hydrogen refuelling station network which would enable fuel cell electric vehicles to travel from London to Aberdeen.
Work is ongoing to both develop the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED), and finance the development of the large-scale first-of-a-kind power-to-gas demonstration facility.
Large-scale trial of V2G technology
Newcastle University is playing a leading role in the e4Future’s project; the world’s first, large-scale trial of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.
The £9.8m project announced in January 2018 by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy minister Richard Harrington is being led by Nissan and involves experts from:
- Newcastle University
- Imperial College, London
- Northern Powergrid
- UK Power Networks
- National Grid
- V2G aggregator Nuvve
The project is installing 1,000 V2G chargers, with a number of them installed at InTEGReL. Using these V2G chargers that allow bi-directional power flows, customers could offer their EVs to support a reliable and cost-effective operation of the power system in exchange of lower bills. The aim of e4Future is to identify and help overcome barriers to make this vision a reality. If successful, this project will be a game changer for both the transport and electricity sectors.
At the moment the number of EVs is too low to have a significant impact and it is estimated there will need to be more than two million electric vehicles on the UK’s roads if we are to meet our commitment to reduce carbon emissions then by 2030.
Assuming half of these are plugged into the grid using a 10kW V2G charger, and each EV battery can store 40kWh then this offers a potential energy storage resource of approximately 40GWh and around 10GW of power capacity– significantly bigger than any energy storage system currently installed or planned.
Integrated operation of electricity and gas networks
Initial research carried out in CESI suggests that terawatt hours of storage in the gas distribution system could be used to provide flexibility services to the electricity network, through the development of novel line pack control strategies. This will become increasingly valuable as the penetration of variable renewable energy in the electricity system continues to grow and system inertia continues to fall.
Hydrogen and natural gas blending
An opportunity exists to simultaneously solve problems on electricity and gas networks through coupling the two using electrolysers. There are many places where renewable energy projects are paid to reduce their output due to electricity network congestion. An alternative would be to divert this excess power into an electrolyser to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen can then be blended into the gas network and transported to where it is needed. This Hydrogen will decarbonise the gas grid and can be used in transport applications or to meet heating demand or even converted back to electricity using a fuel cell. Many technical challenges exist to make this work safely and economically and these challenges are being researched through the HyDeploy and HyDeploy2 projects and will be further researched at the ESHIE facility at InTEGReL.
Coupling electricity and gas networks
The International Energy Agency estimates that 310 GW of additional grid-connected electricity storage capacity will be necessary in the United States, Europe, China and India. One promising energy storage technology is Pumped Heat Energy Storage (PHES) which offers storage at low-cost, low footprint and being deployable anywhere.
The National Facility for PHES is an on-going collaboration between Newcastle University and Energy Technologies Institute and is a world-leading exemplar of engineering innovation, research and development. The facility includes a £15m first-of-a-kind demonstration of grid-scale PHES energy storage.
Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid are co-supervising a PhD student to support the evaluation of the system for facilitating the coupling of the electrical and gas networks.
A simulation framework has been developed to study integrated gas and electricity networks at both transmission and distribution levels under a number of scenarios. This also allowed an assessment of the impacts of transmission systems on distribution systems and vice versa. It was observed that each coupled network could support the operation of the other network in case of occurrence of any faults, and change of operating conditions or renewable generation. In the considered cases, integration of network operation increased the cost of operation of the networks, however, the integrated networks could continue to meet demand and decrease the carbon footprint.
Control room of the future
In order to operate the electricity and gas networks in an integrated way, a joint control room is required. Newcastle University, Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid are collaborating to research the challenges and solutions associated with two highly regulated industries (gas and electricity), working together and planning and operating their networks optimally through a combined network control room.
Gasification of combustible waste into heat and electricity
Working alongside the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Newcastle University are developing gasification technology that would convert combustible waste into gas, heat and electricity. Having such a choice on energy vector utilisation gives great potential for such systems to be integrated into the whole energy system paradigm being investigated at InTEGReL.
A mobile pilot-scale gasification unit, currently at IUPUI, is planned to be moved to InTEGReL to further the research.
Future Gas System Architecture
This project would be complementary to the IET’s Future Power System Architecture project and would therefore provide a whole systems picture. This project would be delivered with:
- Northern Gas Networks
- the Institute of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM)
- The Energy Systems Catapult
- The Energy Networks Association
It will identify a number of new functions required in the future gas system if it is to be decarbonised and therefore have a long-term role in the UK energy landscape.
This project will therefore specify a suite of new techniques and technologies to be developed and tested at InTEGReL such as:
- reverse gas flows
- advanced pressure management systems
- safe blending of multiple gases including hydrogen
- instrumentation and state estimation for monitoring and control of gas systems
- new metering systems to deal with variable calorific values of gas
Artificial Intelligence techniques for controlling complex whole energy systems
In future whole energy systems the degree of complexity, uncertainty and stochastic entities will grow such that the control problems become increasingly non-convex, such that AI and heuristic techniques are required to find optimised solutions.
These techniques will be developed at ESHIE and used to control and optimise the multi vector energy systems assembled in the laboratory and integrated with the broader site
Demand Side Response (DSR) using dual fuel appliances
DSR is usually carried out within one energy vector, as a means of delivering valuable flexibility in energy systems, and is therefore often limited due to the finite time a demand can be deferred or brought forward by. This can be addressed through the use of dual fuel appliances such as hybrid heat pump gas boiler systems. These appliances allow for demand to be shifted from one vector to another eg from electricity to gas. This can be done in response to network overloads in one system or the other or due to price signals or current carbon mix.
The key advantage is the customer sees little or no deterioration in supply of energy and the response can be maintained for a significantly extended period of time.
Blockchain to facilitate peer-to-peer trading within whole energy systems
As energy systems become more and more decentralised and the number of actors in energy markets increases, such as aggregators, prosumers, and municipal energy companies, the potential for peer to peer trading of energy becomes more attractive.
Computer scientists will work with engineers at the ESHIE facility at InTEGRel to develop Blockchain based technologies to investigate the technical and commercial risks and benefits for energy users and energy system operators associated with trading energy regionally through this distributed ledger systems. This has not been done for a full scale multi vector energy system.
The Women's Whole Energy Systems Research and Industry Network (Werin)
The purpose of Werin is to provide networking opportunities and professional support to women in the energy research, innovation and industrial sector.
With a collaborative program of interdisciplinary cross-sector networking and showcase opportunities we plan to:
• open up membership to the whole female community within the sector
• host virtual and physical, inclusive network building events throughout the UK to provide an opportunity for members to meet, showcase their expertise and identify new collaborators and research partners
• build a searchable, user-friendly, free-to-use, online, accessible network membership platform that will highlight the skills and research interests of each of the members
• showcase the sectors and research fields that have successfully achieved progress in gender parity and learn from their best practice.
The network is funded in part by Newcastle University, the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration, the EPSRC Supergen Energy Networks Hub and the UKERC Whole Systems Networking Fund.