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Integrated community Energy Systems

Integrated Community Energy systems (ICEs) provide not only electricity for communities on the scale of ten thousand people, but also harvest waste heat generated in electricity production process. The captured thermal energy can be distributed via steam or hot water pipes to the buildings, which reduces the need for natural gas boilers. Examples of combined heat and power units (CHP), which are key components of ICEs, are internal combustion engine connected with a generator, gas turbine and fuel cells. Short term and long term thermal storage can be integrated into ICEs for peak shaving, which makes the operation of the system more stable. Moreover, replacing typical gas boilers with thermal storage reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and plays a major role in Canada’s commitment to fighting climate change. At night, or when demand is less than power supply, ICEs can store excess energy in various forms (e.g., in batteries or as fuels like hydrogen). During times of excess, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) can be run backward, in electrolyser mode to produce H2 as a form of energy, which can be stored and transported in the existing natural gas network. The current natural gas network can contain up to 5% hydrogen. We are developing models to design, optimize and control ICEs to meet electrical and thermal demands and reduce associated GHG emissions.

Dr. Thomas A. Adams II
Associate Professor
Ruonan Li
Ph.D. Candidate
Nina Monteiro
Ph.D. Candidate
Mina Naeini
Ph.D. Candidate
Novel performance curves to determine optimal operation of CCHP systems
Applied Energy, 226 1009-1036 (2018)  -  [ Publisher Version ]
Optimal design, operation and analytical criteria for determining optimal operating modes of a CCHP with fired HRSG, boiler, electric chiller and absorption chiller
Energy, 139 1052-1065 (2017)  -  [ Publisher Version ]