Green on-site power generation: environmental considerations on small-scale biomass gasifier fuel-cell CHP systems for the residential sector

Thomas Götz, Mathieu Saurat, Lena Tholen, Thomas Adisorn, Ingwald Obernberger, Thomas Brunner, Michael Kerschbaum, Aravind Purushothaman Vellayani, Robert Makkus, Stefan Megel, Martin Hauth, William Zappa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Contemporary combined heat and power (CHP) systems are often based on fossil fuels, such as natural gas or heating oil. Thereby, small-scale cogeneration systems are intended to replace or complement traditional heating equipment in residential buildings. In addition to space heating or domestic hot water supply, electricity is generated for the own consumption of the building or to be sold to the electric power grid.

The adaptation of CHP-systems to renewable energy sources, such as solid biomass applications is challenging, because of feedstock composition and heat integration. Nevertheless, in particular smallscale CHP technologies based on biomass gasification and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) offer significant potentials, also regarding important co-benefits, such as security of energy supply as well as emission reductions in terms of greenhouse gases or air pollutants. Besides emission or air quality regulations, the development of CHP technologies for clean on-site small-scale power generation is also strongly incentivised by energy efficiency policies for residential appliances, such as e.g. Ecodesign and Energy Labelling in the European Union (EU). Furthermore, solid residual biomass as renewable local energy source is best suited for decentralised operations such as micro-grids, also to reduce long-haul fuel transports. By this means such distributed energy resource technology can become an essential part of a forward-looking strategy for net zero energy or even smart plus energy buildings.

In this context, this paper presents preliminary impact assessment results and most recent environmental considerations from the EU Horizon 2020 project "FlexiFuel-SOFC" (Grant Agreement no. 641229), which aims at the development of a novel CHP system, consisting of a fuel flexible smallscale fixed-bed updraft gasifier technology, a compact gas cleaning concept and an SOFC for electricity generation. Besides sole system efficiencies, in particular resource and emission aspects of solid fuel combustion and net electricity effects need to be considered. The latter means that vastly less emission intensive gasifier-fuel cell CHP technologies cause significant less fuel related emissions than traditional heating systems, an effect which is further strengthened by avoided emissions from more emission intensive traditional grid electricity generation. As promising result, operation "net" emissions of such on-site generation installations may be virtually zero or even negative. Additionally, this paper scopes central regulatory instruments for small-scale CHP systems in the EU to discuss ways to improve the framework for system deployment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting (EEDAL '17)
EditorsPaolo Bertoldi
Place of PublicationLuxembourg
PublisherPublications Office of the European Union
Pages909-921
Volume3
ISBN (Print)978-92-79-77174-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventEEDAL 2017: 9th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting - Irvine, United States
Duration: 13 Sep 201715 Sep 2017

Publication series

NameEUR
Number28961 EN

Conference

ConferenceEEDAL 2017: 9th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting
CountryUnited States
CityIrvine
Period13/09/1715/09/17

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