Environmental problem solving

Problems targeted:
  • Climate change.
  • Waste of renewable resources.
  • GHG due to industrial activities and transport.
  • Lack of technology to store efficiently RE.

The origin of the project can certainly be explained within the framework of the 20-20-20 EU challenge to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption. More specifically within theme 1, "Climate Change" and the line of action "Development of innovative practices for the management of smart grids in the context of highly decentralized production of renewable energy".

It is possible to prevent climate change if we act now and adopt policies that reduce energy usage by unleashing the full potential of energy efficiency in concert with renewable energy resources. However, this goal is not likely to be achieved if our only measure of success is emissions reductions; climate change is fundamentally a development issue, not a pollution problem. As a result, target-setting has failed to achieve needed reductions in energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to date. As it is stated in the Renewable Revolution: Low-Carbon Energy by 2030 (Worldwatch Institute, 2009) what is needed is a transformation of the entire global energy system. Shifting to a sustainable energy system based on efficiency and renewable energy will require replacing a complex, entrenched energy system.

The U.S. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory estimates that, 53 % of the energy used worldwide in 2006 could be classified as waste heat, providing no useful services. Other calculations show far higher losses. Moreover, the United States is estimated to operate at only about 13% useful-energy efficiency, up from 10%. Even in Japan, a worldwide efficiency leader, the rate at which primary energy actually provides useful work or heat is only about 20%. Such waste poses a great obstacle to reaching the objectives on energy efficiency, renewable energies and CO2 emissions set out in European and national legislations. The European Commission’s communication, ‘A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050’, suggests that industry must reduce GHG by 34-40% by 2030 and by 83-87% by 2050 (compared with 1990 figures).

Microgrid systems are localised groupings of electricity generation and energy storage which are able to reduce transmission losses and improve utilization efficiency of electricity and heat. They are usually connected to a traditional centralized grid. This single point of common coupling with the macrogrid can be disconnected, allowing it to work autonomously. Moreover, the intelligent management and generation system allows to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. Thus, microgrids in the industry, which feature advanced systems for management and storage of electricity, will contribute to solve this environmental problem.

Factory Microgrid will allow to demonstrate the suitability and feasibility of this solution in the industry. CENER’s expertise and know-how in this field thanks to the Atenea microgrid (oriented industries), among others, will make the optimal development of the project easier.

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