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Small-Scale Hybrid and Polygeneration Renewable Energy Systems: Energy Generation and Storage Technologies, Applications, and Analysis Methodology


The energy sector is nowadays facing new challenges, mainly in the form of a massive shifting towards renewable energy sources as an alternative to fossil fuels and a diffusion of the distributed generation paradigm, which involves the application of small-scale energy generation systems. In this scenario, systems adopting one or more renewable energy sources and capable of producing several forms of energy along with some useful substances, such as fresh water and hydrogen, are a particularly interesting solution. A hybrid polygeneration system based on renewable energy sources can overcome operation problems regarding energy systems where only one energy source is used (solar, wind, biomass) and allows one to use an all-in-one integrated systems in order to match the different loads of a utility. From the point of view of scientific literature, medium and large-scale systems are the most investigated; nevertheless, more and more attention has also started to be given to small-scale layouts and applications. The growing diffusion of distributed generation applications along with the interest in multipurpose energy systems based on renewables and capable of matching different energy demands create the necessity of developing an overview on the topic of small-scale hybrid and polygeneration systems. Therefore, this paper provides a comprehensive review of the technology, operation, performance, and economical aspects of hybrid and polygeneration renewable energy systems in small-scale applications. In particular, the review presents the technologies used for energy generation from renewables and the ones that may be adopted for energy storage. A significant focus is also given to the adoption of renewable energy sources in hybrid and polygeneration systems, designs/modeling approaches and tools, and main methodologies of assessment. The review shows that investigations on the proposed topic have significant potential for expansion from the point of view of system configuration, hybridization, and applications.

Funding source: Part of this research was funded by the Polish Ministry of Higher Education on the basis of decision 0086/DIA/2019/48.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Poland

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