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Multi-model Assessment of Heat Decarbonisation Options in the UK Using Electricity and Hydrogen


Delivering low-carbon heat will require the substitution of natural gas with low-carbon alternatives such as electricity and hydrogen. The objective of this paper is to develop a method to soft-link two advanced, investment-optimising energy system models, RTN (Resource-Technology Network) and WeSIM (Whole-electricity System Investment Model), in order to assess cost-efficient heat decarbonisation pathways for the UK while utilising the respective strengths of the two models. The linking procedure included passing on hourly electricity prices from WeSIM as input to RTN, and returning capacities and locations of hydrogen generation and shares of electricity and hydrogen in heat supply from RTN to WeSIM. The outputs demonstrate that soft-linking can improve the quality of the solution, while providing useful insights into the cost-efficient pathways for zero-carbon heating. Quantitative results point to the cost-effectiveness of using a mix of electricity and hydrogen technologies for delivering zero-carbon heat, also demonstrating a high level of interaction between electricity and hydrogen infrastructure in a zero-carbon system. Hydrogen from gas reforming with carbon capture and storage can play a significant role in the medium term, while remaining a cost-efficient option for supplying peak heat demand in the longer term, with the bulk of heat demand being supplied by electric heat pumps.

Funding source: The research presented in this paper has been supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant number EP/R045518/1 (IDLES Programme).
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Italy ; United Kingdom

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