Energy Hub: The Way that Future Power Systems Should Go to Meet our Energy Demands

The rapid growth of decentralized and distributed power generation, electricity in particular, in the power system has resulted in significant changes in supply, dispatch, and demand sections [1,2]. On the other hand, the effects of climate change, fossil fuel resource depletion, policy incentives, and the public’s awareness of sustainability have ramped up renewable distributed generation (RDG). RDG will outstrip their traditional and dirty fossil fuel-based rivals in power generation by 2025 [3]. It is also important to note that RDG will become the largest and the leading source of electricity generation by supplying more than one-third of the global electricity demand by that time [3-5].

Therefore, power systems have faced a major challenge which is the need for meeting the energy trilemma objectives: cost-effectiveness, reduction of CO2 emissions, and resilience [6]. The key drivers of the enormous increase of RDG technologies are relevant to the distributed generation (DG) feature, environmentally friendly (reduction of CO2 emissions), and lower price of renewables [3].

The Energy Hub is a recently established concept for balancing and managing supply, dispatch, demand, and energy storage devices in which there are multiple energy carriers including electricity, hydrogen, heat, or gas [1,7]. The handling of the energy hub can either be direct or via conversion equipment and one or more energy carriers can be utilized [7].

Fig 1: Schemaric Outline of an Energy Hub for power
Fig 1: Schematic Outline of an Energy Hub

The integration of renewable energy generation technologies comprising photovoltaic modules and wind turbines with the battery energy storage system and hydrogen storage system in a specific place, here the energy hub, is an ultimate goal of this study to meet the energy trilemma objectives.

Since solar and wind as two renewable technologies which have the lowest Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) in most countries of the world are the main pillars of future energy hubs located onshore or offshore [8]. Although the integration of solar and wind has synergistic effects on power generation, their terrestrial deployments have posed several challenges such as land usage footprint, aesthetic impacts, and local impacts on the ecosystem and biodiversity [9-12].

Hence the question raises here: what is the solution for meeting the energy trilemma based on renewable energy generation technologies? We will present one such possible solution in the next article.

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