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Probabilistic Modelling of Seasonal Energy Demand Patterns in the Transition from Natural Gas to Hydrogen for an Urban Energy District


The transition to a low-carbon energy system can be depicted as a “great reconfiguration” from a socio-technical perspective that carries the risk of impact shifts. Electrification with the objective of achieving rapidly deep decarbonisation must be accompanied by effective efficiency and flexibility measures. Hydrogen can be a preferred option in the decarbonisation process where electrification of end-uses is difficult or impractical as well as for long-term storage in energy infrastructure characterised by a large penetration of renewable energy sources. Notwithstanding the current uncertainties regarding costs, environmental impact and the inherent difficulties of increasing rapidly supply capacity, hydrogen can represent a solution to be used in multi-energy systems with combined heat and power (CHP), in particular in urban energy districts. In fact, while achieving carbon savings with natural gas fuelled CHP is not possible when low grid carbon intensity factors are present, it may still be possible to use it to provide flexibility services and to reduce emissions further with switch from natural gas to hydrogen. In this paper, a commercially established urban district energy scheme located in Southampton (United Kingdom) is analysed with the goal of exploring potential variations in its energy demand. The study proposes the use of scalable data-driven methods and probabilistic simulation to generate seasonal energy demand patterns representing the potential short-term and long-term evolution of the energy district.

Funding source: This work is part of the activity of the Energy & Climate Change Division, Sustainable Energy Research Group (https:// at University of Southampton. The research was partially funded by the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) HEIF research collaboration stimulus fund 2022-23 and is also part of the Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025 of University of Southampton (https://
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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